A recent report by the Kachin Women’s Association of Thailand has opened the lid on

Poppy Image: asiancorrespondent.com

Poppy Image: asiancorrespondent.com

Myanmar’s drug problem. The report, named “The Silent Offensive” outlines an area of Asia so engulfed by drug problems that shopkeepers now use disposable syringes as currency.

The actual currency is so debased as to be worthless. Clerks have for years used tissues, cigarettes or sweets in lieu of notes.

The two most valuable and affordable items in Myanmar are syringes and bottles of sterile water. The water is used to mix powdered heroin into injectable form; before being shot into a vein.

The heroin itself isn’t that much more expensive. A single hit can sell for a s little as $1. With much of it being sold as openly as vegetables in the stalls.

Myanmar’s northern jungles are all but impenetrable to regular law enforcement. These jungles and surrounding hills are controlled by guerrilla armies, many of them allied with the central government.

The bulk of Asia’s heroin supply comes from this jungle area.

Only Afghanistan produces greater quantities of opium; heroin’s main ingredient.

Needle Image: www.businessinsider.com

Needle Image: www.businessinsider.com

Drug addiction is a debilitating problem for the country. Used needles are everywhere underfoot, heroin is sold on the streets. It is estimated that up to 80 per cent of Kachin State youth are drug addicts

Speaking to Global Post Esther, from an anti-drug vigilante group near Muse, said, “Where we live, police can barely reach us. So people make up the law themselves.

“In many villages, every home contains an addict. We all have personal tragedies. My husband and son got hooked and sold everything in the house – even bags of rice.”

The US has attempted to depict Myanmar as a success story, after the White House decided to back the country in its efforts to become a freer society. Despite all attempts at eradication an insurgency still exists. It accuses the government of genocide by heroin.

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