Ecstasy

The “ecstasy” market in East and South-East Asia remains small compared to the methamphetamine market. In 2015, none of countries in the region reported “ecstasy” as one of the top three commonly used drugs, with the exception of Indonesia, which named the drug as the third most widely used. In the same year, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand perceived increasing “ecstasy” use.  

Annual “ecstasy” seizures in East and South-East Asia have been fluctuating and do not show any particular trends. Steep rises in seizures in a particular year are often driven by single seizure cases involving large quantities of the drug. In 2015, a total of approximately 3 million “ecstasy” tablets were seized in the region, and about two-thirds of them were seized in Indonesia alone, followed by China (21%) and Malaysia (13%). In fact, Indonesia accounts for more than half (56%) of the total “ecstasy” seizures reported in the region between 2011 and 2015.

Data on seized laboratories suggest that the “ecstasy” manufacture is not widespread in East and South-East Asia. In 2015, only two countries in the region, China and Malaysia, reported to have dismantled “ecstasy” manufacture facilities: 4 in China and 7 in Malaysia. An additional, seven “ecstasy” tableting facilities were dismantled in Malaysia in 2016. Malaysia has been perceived as one of the major embarkation points for the “ecstasy” found in Brunei Darussalam and Indonesia in recent years. Hong Kong, China law enforcement authorities reported “ecstasy” trafficking flows from mainland China and the Netherlands in 2015. Indonesia also indicated the Netherlands as one of the major embarkation points for “ecstasy” seized in the country in 2015. Some shipments with higher quality of “ecstasy” seized in the region were perceived to have been trafficked from Canada, Germany, and the United States of America.   

In 2015, East and South-East Asia did not report any seizure of the four MDMA precursor chemicals listed in Table I of the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988. Substantial quantities of MDMA precursor chemicals, which are not under international control, originating from the region have been seized in Europe in recent years.

A number of tablets sold as “ecstasy” but containing substances other than MDMA, including new psychoactive substances (NPS), have been found in East and South-East Asia. Those substances include ketamine (Malaysia and Thailand), 2C-B (Thailand), TFMPP (Thailand), PMMA (Indonesia), DOC (Indonesia), butylone (Thailand), and flephedron (Thailand).