Drug Problem Still Strong in Myanmar

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News,World,War on Drugs,Burma

Despite the economic boom in the urban areas of Myanmar, the rural countryside and mountains are still plagued with poverty and a drug problem that is open and out of control. (March 17)

SHOTLIST:

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Yangon, Myanmar - March 5, 2014

1. Wide pan of city skyline

2. Mid traffic on street

3. Mid mechanical diggers at construction site in downtown Yangon

4. SOUNDBITE (English) Name, Occupation (Transcript Below)

Nampakta village, Myanmar - January 27, 2014

5. Wide men in field smoking and taking drugs

6. Mid man kneeling down smoking through bottle and pipe

7. SOUNDBITE (Kachin) Daw Li, resident (Transcript Below)

Loi Charam village, Myanmar - January 29, 2014

8. Various woman pounding rice in village as sun rises

Shan State, Myanmar - January 30, 2014

9. Various of opium poppies in fields, some of the poppy heads have scores known as striations on the side, which shows the resin has already been taken from them

Yangon, Myanmar - February 3, 2014

10. SOUNDBITE (English) Jason Eligh, UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Myanmar manager (Transcript Below)

++SOUNDBITE PARTIALLY COVERED WITH B-ROLL++

Nampakta village, Myanmar - January 27, 2014

11. Wide men smoking drugs by mound of rocks

12. Mid men crouching down smoking drugs by motorbike

Shan State - January 31, 2014

13. Wide Ta'ang National Liberation Army troops marching - the troops are from one of Myanmar's numerous armed ethnic groups resisting the authority of the government

14. Tight soldier carrying rocket-launcher

15. Tight poppy flower in field

16. Various troops cutting down poppy crop

Yangon, Myanmar - February 3, 2014

17. SOUNDBITE (English) Jason Eligh, UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Myanmar manager (Transcript Below)

Loi Charam village, Myanmar - January 29, 2014

18. Mid woman picking out rice from sieve

19. Tight young boy carrying a younger child on his back

20. Mid two children by fire

VOICE-OVER SCRIPT:

ON THE SURFACE, MYANMAR APPEARS TO BE A POSITIVE STORY OF HOPE AND OPTIMISM - A ONCE MILITARY-RUN COUNTRY OPENING UP, WITH THE WORLD REWARDING IT WITH A RUSH TO INVEST.

BUT IN RURAL AREAS, POVERTY STALKS THE PEOPLE AND THE DRUG PROBLEM IS IN THE OPEN AND OUT OF CONTROL.

SOUNDBITE (Kachin) Daw Li, mother who lost two sons to overdose:

"They used to be secretive. Everyone used to hide in their houses. But for the last seven or eight years dealers have been selling drugs openly like this in the cemetery without fear."

THE INVESTMENT THAT HAS FLOODED URBAN AREAS CANNOT BE SEEN IN THE COUNTRYSIDE.

HERE THE OLD ECONOMY LIVES ON: OPIUM POPPIES, GROWN FOR HEROIN. FOR POOR FARMERS, THESE CROPS ARE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HAVING FOOD AND STARVING.

SOUNDBITE (English) Jason Eligh, UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Myanmar Country manager:

"Why is poppy cultivation and production important? Because it's a reflection on the paucity of development in this country and the fact that the people who are stuck with only having the option to grow poppy are the ones that are suffering the most and the ones who won't see the benefits in the short term anyways, of this development excess that is going on here."

THE GOVERNMENT DOESN'T INTERVENE. ETHNIC ARMIES RULE SEVERAL REMOTE AREAS, AND THE COUNTRY IS WORKING TOWARD A NATIONWIDE CEASEFIRE. THE MAIN PRIORITY IS MAINTAINING SECURITY, SO THE POPPY FIELDS SURVIVE AND MULTIPLY.

AND THE RURAL POPULATION DEPENDS ON THEIR SURVIVAL.

SOUNDBITE (English) Jason Eligh, UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Myanmar Country manager:

"Go to the rural areas of Shan or Kachin or Sagaing or Chin. Ask them 'how is the new Myanmar working out for you?'. You'll get a very different answer."

ACCORDING TO THE WORLD BANK, MORE THAN A QUARTER OF THE COUNTRY LIVES BELOW THE POVERTY LINE AND AROUND A THIRD OF CHILDREN UNDER FIVE ARE MALNOURISHED.

MATTHEW BURGOYNE, ASSOCIATED PRESS

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