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UN says methamphetamine remains biggest drug threat in East and Southeast Asia

The U.N.'s anti-drug agency says the powerful crystallized form of methamphetamine is rapidly gaining market share among the traders and users of illicit stimulants in East and Southeast Asia.

The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime released its annual report Wednesday on amphetamine-type stimulants in the region. The report said the substances are the most-used or second-most-used illicit drugs in 13 of the 15 Asia-Pacific countries surveyed.

It also said that methamphetamine seizures in East and Southeast Asia represent nearly half of the world's total.

It said that while the number of methamphetamine pills seized in 2011 dropped 9 percent from the year before to nearly 123 million, seizures of crystalline methamphetamine — better known as crystal meth — rose by 23 percent to 8.8 metric tons.