The Greater Mekong Sub-region, one of three largest illicit drug production hubs in the world, has nearly four million drug addicts, according to a UN report.
Of the drug users, nearly 147,000 are Vietnamese, mostly aged from 30 to 45, according to figures announced by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) at a meeting in Vietnam's central city of Da Nang on Wednesday.
Representatives from the office and senior officials from China, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam attended the three-day even that closed Wednesday.
The six countries are the signatories to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Drug Control in Greater Mekong Sub-region. The MOU was initially signed by China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand in 1993 and by Vietnam and Cambodia in 1995.
Participants said though drug production, sales and transport have been on the decrease over the past 17 years since MOU members and the UNODC joined forces to deal with drug-related issues.
But the situation was still "complicated," experts said.
They said the number of international drug trafficking gangs operating in the region, especially African groups, was increasing.