Drug War

Myanmar Is Losing Its Drug War, Too


Poppy field
Credit: (MarilynJane / Foter.com)

Opium production in Myanmar is surging despite the best efforts of the country's government and providers of foreign aid, reports the AP's Jocelyn Gecker. Opium, heroin, and meth, she writes, "are surging across Myanmar's borders in quantities that the United Nations and police in neighboring countries say are the highest levels in years."

Why? Because the alternatives are few and not nearly as lucrative as poppy production:

A middle-aged farmer named Awa Wadaa grew opium for 20 years and was pulling in $3,500 a year in the five-month poppy season when the U.N. offered him a way out. In 2012, he worked year-round rotating crops of corn, potatoes and sunflowers, and earned just $500. 

Not only is opium more profitable, but its illegality is easily circumvented with the right amount of bribery. A 15 percent tax, or "paying respect," gets local authorities to turn a blind eye. Myanmar's neighbors are demanding that the country wage all-out war on traffickers and growers. 

NEXT: CO Sheriffs Who Question Gun Laws Punished By Pay Delay

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. You most likely know it as Myanmar, but it will always be Burma to me.

    1. Why did Burma get the works?
      That’s nobody’s business but the…Myanmarese?

      1. Oh wait, that was wrong.

        Why did Burma get the works?
        That’s nobody’s business but the…military junta’s?

        1. They Might Be Giants reference?

            1. I’d bet dollars to doughnuts Episiarch only knows about it by way of the They Might Be Giants version.

              1. Nice recovery, and not even a hint of projection.

                1. The only people under 60 who know that song know it from the They Might Be Giants version.

                  In fact, I’d bet more than half the people who’ve covered that song since–originally thought that they were covering They Might Be Giants.

                  1. I’m under 60 and I remember it from being played on the Dr. Demento Show and it sure as hell wasn’t the version by I Guess They Weren’t Giants.

                    1. You’re lying.

                  2. Im 43 and I know its a Four Lads song.

                    I always bring that up when something thinks its a TMBG song. Aruchduke beat me to it today.

                    1. “I always bring that up when something thinks its a TMBG song.”

                      And how often does it come up, rob?

                      This is the first time I’ve seen someone mention the song in 20 years!

  2. 15%. Even my local taxes are more than that.

  3. Cause and effect, how do they work?

  4. Burma is the official moniker.

    1. (I meant, official U.S. moniker)

      1. Myanmar Shave just doesn’t have the same ring.

        1. Myanmarese python? Makes me want to drop out of herpetology school.

  5. We made these jokes the other day I recall

  6. “[Thein Sein] has said, apparently sincerely, that peace pacts between his government and minorities involved in drug production would solve both civil strife and the problem of illicit drugs.”

    In other words, Burma’s neighbors are engaging in neo-colonialism.

    Nothing encourages a country to open up to the outside world like the outside world coming in and telling them how to conduct their internal affairs.

    This is like the U.N. telling Colorado that they’re not allowed to legalize marijuana.

    1. If I ever see a blue helmet come within visibility of my property…

  7. HOLY CRAP is that Warty in the bodybuilding ads?


    2. Probably.

    3. What ads?

      1. are you depriving Reason of revenue by running an adblocking software? you monster.

  8. Slightly OT. Last year when Obummer went to Burma, he was greeted by the King/Queen or whatever they are. An analysis written in the Bangkok news of the meeting mentioned that the Queen presented a “bow” (In Thailand it is called a ‘wai’) of the respect that one would give to the cleaning lady.

    1. Are you confused? Thailand and Burma are separate countries. Burma is ruled by a military junta, they don’t have a monarchy

      1. Well I’m a little confused but that shouldn’t stop me.

        I just looked it up, Burma is ruled by a President, so my post was regarding when Obummer met the Burma Prez and the Burma First Lady.

        I referred to Thailand because (as I clearly stated), I read the account in an article in the Bangkok Post which was describing the Obummer trip to Burma. (Amazingly, even before this time, I was aware that Thailand and Burma are separate countries).

        The whole point of my post was Obummer got seriously dissed but had no idea.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.