The rise of methamphetamine in Southeast and East Asia

Drug Alcohol Rev. 2008 May;27(3):220-8. doi: 10.1080/09595230801923710.


Introduction and aims: Southeast and East Asia has become a global hub for methamphetamine production and trafficking over the past decade. This paper describes the rise of methamphetamine supply and to what extent use of the drug is occurring in the region.

Method and design: The current review uses data collected through the Drug Abuse Information Network for Asia and the Pacific (DAINAP) and other available sources to analyse retrospectively methamphetamine trends within Southeast and East Asia.

Results: Southeast and East Asia has experienced a methamphetamine epidemic in the past decade which began around 1997 and peaked in 2000-2001. While the situation has since stabilised in many countries, methamphetamine trafficking and use are still increasing in parts of the Mekong region and there is evidence of large-scale manufacture in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. Methamphetamine is typically smoked or ingested, but injection of the drug is apparent.

Conclusion: While the peak of the methamphetamine epidemic has passed in parts of Southeast and East Asia, attention is needed to minimise the potential consequences of spreading methamphetamine production, trafficking and use in the Mekong region and in the peninsular and archipelago of Southeast Asia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Asia / epidemiology
  • Asia, Southeastern / epidemiology
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / adverse effects
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / supply & distribution*
  • Child
  • Crime / statistics & numerical data
  • Drug Administration Routes
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Methamphetamine / adverse effects
  • Methamphetamine / supply & distribution*


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Illicit Drugs
  • Methamphetamine