According to a report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), cannabis (marijuana), heroin and opium have been replaced by ecstasy and methamphetamine as the illegal drugs of choice in East and Southeast Asia.
The report titled "Patterns and Trends of Amphetamine-Type Stimulants and Other Drugs: Asia and the Pacific" said that amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS), especially methamphetamine is now a threat to the region as it ranked in the top three most commonly used illegal drugs.
Of the estimated 14 million to 53 million pot users around the world, the Asia-Pacific comprises about 25 percent to 40 percent of that, which makes up around 3.4 million to 20.7 million in the region, said the report.
The UNODC executive director, Yury Fedotov, expressed his worries on the increasing trend in the manufacture and use of ATS that poses health challenges in the region.
Large legitimate chemical and pharmaceutical industries are attractive opportunities for criminal groups in South Asia where to manufacture and market ATS.
It was further reported that there are enormous global revenues from ecstasy-group substances.
Also, the ATS have become the leading substances of use replacing plant-based narcotics in East and Southeast Asia.
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