The area under opium cultivation in Myanmar has decreased by 25% between 2015 and 20q7, from 55,000 hectares to 41,000 hectares, says a survey led by the United Nations.

The East Shan region, with a drop of 37 percent, and South Shan, with a drop of 29 percent showed the highest declines, showed the Myanmar Opium Survey 2017 released by UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

But the North Shan and Kachin states saw reductions of less than three percent and seven percent, which meant a reduction of only 600 hectares on the ground.

“As long as significant parts of Shan and Kachin remain unstable and basically autonomous from the rest of the country and region, the environment will remain a safe haven for those who run the drug trade,” said UNODC Regional Representative Jeremy Douglas in a UN news release.

A fall in opium and heroin prices over recent years in the regional drug markets is considered a major reason for the decline in the production. The East and Southeast Asian markets are shifting towards synthetic drugs and especially methamphetamine, says the report.

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