Irrespective of how much opium production has really contracted, the GMS remains a frontrunner in the global narcotics trade. In the opium eradication era, regional drug networks have found respite in chemicals comprising both basic materials and final products. The [Greater Mekong Subregioin’s] strategic developmental position in between two industrial giants is being exploited for sourcing from China and India the precursor chemicals needed for the production of heroin and Amphetamine-Type Stimulants or ATS, including amphetamine, Ecstasy, and especially tablet (‘yaba’ in Thai) and “ice” methamphetamine (crystal methamphetamine). The chemicals are then used in laboratories across the region, or traded across the globe.

– Extracted from Lia Sciortino’s most recent essay in her Mekong Currents series. This piece is titled: “Drugs: From Golden Past to Crystalline Future”.