Asian drug trafficking networks are increasingly using sea routes to smuggle methamphetamines out of Myanmar and ramping up ketamine production as they seek to expand their business, the UN said Friday. Meth from coup-hit Myanmar’s northeastern Shan state — the regional epicentre for the drug’s production — is being smuggled by boats to avoid tighter patrols on land routes through China and Thailand, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in an annual report. The border region between Myanmar, Laos and Thailand has long been a hotbed of illegal drug production and trafficking, particularly of meth and opium. Increased drug patrols in China’s southwestern Yunnan province and along Thailand’s border with Myanmar led to a drop in meth seizures by Chinese and Thai authorities in 2022 as drug traffickers turned to alternative maritime routes. “Traffickers have continued to ship large volumes through Laos and northern Thailand, but at the same time they have pushed significant supply through central Myanmar to the Andaman Sea where it seems few were looking,” UNODC regional representative Jeremy Douglas said. The report flagged high volumes of Myanmar-made meth heading into Bangladesh and India. Health experts say use of the drug can lead to paranoia, hallucinations and violent behaviour and those withdrawing can experience psychosis. Police across East and South East Asia seized nearly 151 tonnes of methamphetamines in 2022, down from the record of 172 tonnes set in 2021.