In regards to current drug trends, particularly methamphetamine (both in crystal and pill form) has become increasingly accessible and affordable throughout Asia, reflecting the trend of rising use of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) in the region.
Governments in the SEA region have implemented different kinds of national drug policy reform, including diversion programmes (Indonesia and Cambodia), harm reduction measures (Malaysia and Myanmar), and steps towards decriminalisation of cannabis cultivation and use for medical and scientific purposes (Thailand).
The scale of illicit cultivation of crops continues to be largely influenced by various socioeconomic and political factors such as poverty, conflict, and weak institutions, both in Myanmar and Afghanistan. In areas affected by conflict, households often grow opium poppy as a means of survival in an environment where markets are not accessible.
Lessons can be learned, for instance, from experiences in Thailand or Colombia. The Thai experience demonstrates the importance of integrated rural development as a foundation of AD measures, addressing short-term needs as well as long-term sustainability. This includes community planning, inclusive value-chain development and sustainable land management, among other aspects. Experiences regarding coca cultivation areas and the recent peace agreement in Colombia confirm that multi-stakeholder dialogue is important for being able to access local communities and building trust.