By Andrew R.C. Marshall

BANGKOK (Reuters) - A “dramatic” drop in opium cultivation in Myanmar underscored a regional boom in demand for illegal synthetic drugs such as methamphetamine, which many Asian countries are struggling to combat, a senior U.N. official said on Wednesday.

The area under opium poppy cultivation dropped by a quarter between 2015 and 2017, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in a report released on Wednesday.

“The drop in opium production is welcome, but it is not a victory,” Jeremy Douglas, the UNODC’s chief in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, told Reuters.

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