The authorities in Myanmar destroyed more than $446 million worth of illegal drugs seized from around the country. This was to mark an annual international anti-drug trafficking day on Monday, police said.
The drug burn came as UN experts warned of an increase in the production of opium, heroin and methamphetamine in Myanmar, with exports threatening to expand markets in South and Southeast Asia.
Myanmar has a long history of drug production linked to political and economic insecurity caused by decades of armed conflict. The country is a major producer and exporter of methamphetamine and the world’s second-largest opium and heroin producer. This is despite repeated attempts to promote alternative legal crops among poor farmers.
Last year, authorities burned a total of more than $642 million worth of seized drugs.
Estimates of opium production were 440 tons in 2020, rising slightly in 2021, and then spiking in 2022 to an estimated 870 tons, according to a report.
Most of the opium, heroin and methamphetamine exported by Myanmar goes to other countries in Southeast Asia and China.