Why Myanmar can’t shake its drug problem

Flickr CC John Estey


Why Myanmar can’t shake its drug problem

1 February 2019

Myo Min knows all too well about the negative effects of excessive drug use. He started using methamphetamines more than a decade ago after being pressured to try it by some friends, and quickly graduated to heroin.

Since then, he has seen it all: sleepless nights, failing health, fights with his family, paranoia, and tragedy. Several years ago, a close friend became so paranoid from using drugs that he jumped from the fourth floor of a building to his death.

Despite all of this, Myo Min hasn’t managed to get himself completely clean.

“It is much easier now to buy yaba compared to before,” he said, referring to Thai word for the cheap methamphetamine pill. “I sometimes use yaba now, although not as much as before. Now I think I have things more under control.”

Myo Min’s experience is not unique in Myanmar, where health workers say that drug use is becoming increasingly common in many communities across the country.