Yes, that’s true. Unfortunately, this production ranking is for illicit drugs like amphetamine-type stimulants. I wonder what advantages there is to produce them in the country. Talented chemists? Central location in the region? Good customer service?
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is one of the three Asian countries where amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) are mainly produced, a United Nations report said.
“Nowadays, ATS manufacture is concentrated mainly in China, Myanmar and the Philippines,” a report prepared by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said.
Illicit manufacture of ATS used to operate mainly in Japan in the 1940s and 1950s, and later moved to South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand.
ATS includes “ecstasy” and methamphetamine, commonly known as shabu in the Philippines. Expansion of ATS manufacture has also been noted in Cambodia, Indonesia and Malaysia.
The report also tagged Iran as a major supplier of methamphetamine in Southeast Asia.
West African countries, particularly Nigeria, are also considered major drug suppliers for the Southeast Asia drug market.
In East and Southeast Asia, annual prevalence of ATS use is estimated at 0.2 percent to 1.3 per cent of the population aged 15-64.
According to the report, crystalline methamphetamine or shabu is now the most commonly used drug in the Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Japan, and South Korea.
Treatment demand relating to the use of crystalline methamphetamine has also increased considerably.
Almost all or 96 percent of ATS seizures made in East and Southeast Asia in 2010 involved methamphetamine.
Nearly 136 million methamphetamine tablets were seized in 2010, representing a 44 percent increase compared with the number of tablets seized in 2009 (94 million).
About 230 million people, or five percent of the world’s adult population, are estimated to have used illicit drugs at least once in 2010.
Problem drug users number about 27 million, which is 0.6 percent of the world adult population.
Heroin, cocaine and other drugs kill around 0.2 million people each year, shattering families and bringing misery to thousands of other people, according to the report.
Latest available data indicate no significant change in the global status quo regarding the use, production and health consequences of illicit drugs, other than the return to high levels of opium production in Afghanistan.
“But while the troubled waters of the world’s illicit drug markets may appear to be stagnant, shifts and changes in their flows and currents can be observed below the surface,” the report stated.
“These are significant and also worrying, not because of how they currently impact on the data but because they are proof of the resilience and adaptability of illicit drug suppliers and users and because of the potential future repercussions of those shifts and changes in the world’s major drug markets,” it said.
Drain on resources
The report also said $200 billion to $250 billion (0.3-0.4 per cent of global gross domestic product) would be needed to cover costs related to drug treatment worldwide.
“In reality, the actual amounts spent on treatment for drug abuse are far lower – and less than one in five persons who needs such treatment actually receives it,” the report read.
The impact of illicit drug use on productivity is also alarming, according to the report.
A study in the US suggested that productivity losses were equivalent to 0.9 percent of GDP, and studies in several other countries showed losses equivalent to 0.3-0.4 percent of GDP. The costs associated with drug-related crimes are also substantial.
Drug use can also have serious health impact, even for casual users. Cocaine can induce stroke; amphetamines can induce lethal arrhythmias or hyperthermia upon first exposure. The use of cannabis may seriously impair the user’s driving capacity.
Chronic cannabis use can lead to drug dependency as well as a number of behavioral and psychiatric conditions, including anxiety or depression.
Drug-related deaths – whether by overdose, drug-induced accident, suicide or medical conditions associated with or exacerbated by illicit drugs – represent the most severe health consequence of drug use. Some 0.2 million people die from drug use every year. Approximately half of those cases involve fatal overdoses.