More than Half of Myitkyina Uni Students Addicted: KNG
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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

More than Half of Myitkyina Uni Students Addicted: KNG

By LAWI WENG Friday, June 26, 2009


Addiction to heroin and other drugs has in recent years become widespread among students at Myitkyina University in Kachin State, according to a Kachin News Agency (KNG) report published on Friday. 

The KNG report was released on the same day that the Burmese military regime was holding a ceremony to burn seized drugs to mark World Anti-Drug Day. This year’s ceremony took place in Kengtung Township in Shan State.

The eight-page report paints an alarming picture of drug use, and in particular the use of heroin, which has infiltrated the northernmost Burmese state dramatically in recent years. The report also details the endemic use of drugs among workers in the jade mines of Hpakant in Kachin State and the complicity of company bosses and the military authorities in the region.

“Myitkyina University has become a haven for heroin,” he said.

The disturbing report outlines the increase in drug use among university students in the Kachin capital since 2003 and says that both male and female students “are fearless about taking drugs” and that they “shoot up in the classrooms and in the toilet openly.”

It says that heroin is commonly sold to students and other young people in tiny penicillin vial lids at a price of about 1,500 kyat (US $1.50) per cap, although first-time users are often given free samples to get them hooked.

The report says that Myitkyina University has become so notorious for soaring levels of drug addiction among its students that it has become a “source of shame and bitterness for the local community.”

The KNG report also notes that there are thousands of workers in jade mines in Kachin State that line up like they were at “a festival” to buy drugs and often spend more money on drugs than they are able to earn.

The report quotes a jade mine manager as saying: “When the laopan (Chinese company bosses) invite you to their houses, they teat you with opium. All of the jade brokers get addicted.”

Although day laborers earn as little as 1,000 kyat ($1) per day, the report says that a pipe of opium costs at least 3—4,000 kyat ($3-4) while a methamphetamine pill goes for about 6,500 kyat ($6.50).

The report also accuses the Burmese authorities of ignoring the drug problem that is threatening the Kachin community and, in many cases, of being involved with it.

Burma’s state-run media has reported that the country has been successful in eliminating illegal drugs with a decline of 11 percent in drug production in 2007-2008.

The New Light of Myanmar reported that the Burmese authorities had destroyed 312,700 hectares of poppy within the last two years and that Burma has been successful in the first five-year phase of its 15-year narcotic drugs eradication program that began in 1999-2000.

However, according to the 2008 World Drug Report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), opium cultivation increased 29 percent during that period, though it noted that most of this amount originated on poppy farms in the Wa region of Shan State.

Khuensai Jaiyen, editor of the Shan Herald Agency for News, based in Chiang Mai, Thailand, said it will be difficult to eliminate illegal drugs in northern Burma because the political situation is unstable and many people in Shan State have to rely on income from poppy farms.

Even the ceasefire groups in Shan State have to rely on income from the opium poppy trade, he added.

Of a total of 27,700 hectares (68,419 acres) of opium poppy cultivation in all Burma, Shan State alone accounted for as much as 25,400 hectares (62,738 acres), according to the UNODC report. It is estimated that as many as 150,000 households in Shan State are involved in opium poppy cultivation—an increase of 24 percent from previous years.

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planB Wrote:
The next epidemic is at hand: "addiction".
Blame the SPDC.
I wonder will The Irrawaddy go as far as to claim that the SPDC forces the addict with free first doses?
Let me repeat what has been done for this here:
Just a little differently for this situation:
Blanket sanction+SPDC intransigence = no/less economic activities/opportunity= *no/less hopeful outlook= Do not care much for one's future=look for quick fixes especially among the younger who are not aware of addiction related problem=Addiction= no/even less outlook.*
A vicious cycle** indeed.
The SPDC is indirectly to blame as much as those who advocate sanctions, personal responsibility aside. So is The Irrawaddy partly responsible for rampant heroin addiction in Myitkyina?

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