An overview of the meeting (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – A Senior Officials’ Meeting in preparation for the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Drug Matters took place in Hanoi on October 17.

Addressing the event, head of the Ministry of Public Security’s Drug Crime Investigation Police Department Maj. Gen. Pham Van Cac stressed that the global drug situation is developing constantly with more and more complications.

He cited the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s statistics which showed that there are at least 250 million people, or 5 percent of the world’s population, who use recreational drugs. In East and Southeast Asia, over 3 million people use heroin and over 5 million use synthetic drugs.

The Golden Triangle, which covers several ASEAN member states, remain a “hot spot” for opium growing and is emerging as a production centre for the world’s synthetic drugs, Cac stated.

He also pointed out some of the challenges for drug crime prevention and control during the Fourth Industrial Revolution as criminals are taking advantage of the development of science and technology to continue criminal activities.

Acknowledging serious drug-related threats in the modern global context, the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Drug Matters was set up in 2012 and institutionalised in 2015, thus bringing cooperation in drug prevention and control between ASEAN member states to a new height and showing their strong commitments in addressing the problem, Cac emphasised.

Officer Cac stressed the need for ASEAN to increase the efficiency and quality of Senior Officials and Ministerial Meetings, keeping a close watch on regional and global situations to update and adjust agenda contents and maintain the effective role of consultations and orientations on drug prevention and control policies within the bloc.

In this issue, information is a core factor, he said, suggesting the countries promote the efficiency of information exchange and processing, as well as coordination in investigating and arresting suspects related to drug production, smuggling, and transportation. –VNA