UN reports rise in consumption of synthetic and prescription drugs

Yuri Fedotov

A new report released by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime says there has been a sharp decline in opium production and a modest reduction in coca cultivation.

The World Drug Report 2011 says that production and consumption of drugs remain a serious problem.

It estimates that 210 million people or 4.8 per cent of the population between the ages of 16 and 64 took illicit substances at least once in 2010.

Derrick Mbatha reports.

Joseph Deiss:  Drug abuse and drug trafficking threaten the wellbeing of people all over the world. They also undermine security and development in some regions.

Joseph Deiss, the President of the General Assembly speaking at a launch of the World Drug Report 2011 at the United Nations on Thursday.

The report, compiled by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) says that global markets for cocaine, heroine and cannabis, also known as marijuana declined in 2010.

However, the report says that the production and abuse of prescription drugs and new synthetic drugs rose.

Globally, approximately 210 million people between15 and 64 years of age took illicit drugs last year.

Mr. Deiss said the international community shares responsibility for tackling the global drug problem.

Joseph Deiss: To ensure our counter-narcotics efforts that they are effective, we need reliable information. That is why the World Drug Report is so significant. It is a comprehensive analysis of the global drug problem produced annually by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Drug traffickers don't only break the law but also the human spirit and create other problems for society, according United Nations Secretary-General Ban-Ki-moon.

Ban Ki-moon: They fuel terrorism and insurgency. They rob societies of peace. The toll on young people and children is especially heart-breaking. When their parents take drugs, they are more likely to use drugs themselves. That exposes them to mental health disorders, crime and violence. Drug use also spreads infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C.

But what is the picture of the production and consumption of drugs around the world?

Yuri Fedotov is the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

Yuri Fedotov: As the 2011 World Drug Report highlights, we are making progress in some areas. On the supply side global markets for the world's two most problematic drugs: cocaine and heroine, declined in 2010. Illicit cultivation of opium poppy and coca bush remained limited to a few countries.

And what about the problem of people who consume illicit drugs?

Yuri Fedotov: On the demand side, heroine consumption has stabilized in Europe and cocaine consumption has declined in North America, the most lucrative markets for these drugs. But I am afraid the good news ends there."

Yuri Fedotov said that opiates, especially heroine, continue to be the most dangerous drugs around the world.

Mr. Fedotov singled out Afghanistan as the world's leading producer of illicit opium accounting for 74 per cent of the global production in 2010 down from 88 per cent in 2009.

Duration: 2’46″

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