Development and alternative crops provide hope in war on illicit drugsListen /
A greater focus on development activities and alternative crops has been urged by the UN in countries where drug trafficking has disrupted security and development.
In 2012, up to 324 million people, or 7 per cent of the world population aged 15-64, had used an illicit drug.
Addressing an event at the UN on "Sustainable Development and the World Drug Problem", Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon underscored the importance of helping farmers grow alternative crops.
"Illicit drugs and organized crime undermine people's lives and devastate societies. Drugs and crime corrode fragile countries. And they destroy communities. Development activities can address these concerns. That is why it is so important to help farmers choose alternative crops. We must also work to stabilize markets. And we have to create decent jobs for people who need them."
Afghanistan and Myanmar are two nations where drug production is still high.
In Afghanistan, opium poppy cultivation hit a record high in 2013, rising by 36 per cent.
In South-east Asia, opium cultivation in the area known as the Golden Triangle, which includes Myanmar, rose for the seventh consecutive year.
Daniel Dickinson, United Nations.