Heroin, cocaine production drop but ecstasy on the rise: UN report says

By chillinwill · Jun 25, 2009 · ·
  1. chillinwill
    Production of heroin, cocaine and cannabis decreased or stabilised in 2008, but synthetic drugs like ecstasy went up, the UN's drug agency said in its annual report published Wednesday.

    "Global markets for cocaine, opiates and cannabis are steady or in decline, while production and use of synthetic drugs is feared to be increasing in the developing world," the UN Office on Drugs and Crime said in its 2008 World Drug Report.

    Poppy cultivation in Afghanistan, where 93 percent of the world's opium is grown, was down by 19 percent last year, while coca leaf cultivation in Colombia, the world's largest cultivator, fell by 18 percent, the report said.

    This led to a global drop in production of 16 percent for opiates and eight percent for cocaine, it added.

    However, while these trends were "encouraging", the UNODC pointed out that amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) -- which include amphetamines, methamphetamines and ecstasy -- were on the rise.

    Seizures of the drugs increased in 2008 and a growing number of countries was producing them.

    "What was once a cottage industry has become big business," the report noted, citing industrial-sized laboratories in southeast Asia, especially in the Greater Mekong region.

    Since ATS and cannabis could be produced anywhere in the world, the report admitted it was more difficult to track production, unlike with heroin and cocaine where opium poppy and coca leaf fields were easy to detect.

    But it noted that cannabis had become more dangerous, with the average content in marijuana of the harmful component THC almost doubling in the last 10 years.

    The UN office relies on member states to provide information about drug use and production in their country.

    In the developed world, the UNODC reported lower or steady consumption of opiates, cocaine and cannabis last year.

    Use of cocaine -- which has a global market estimated at 50 billion dollars (35.5 billion euros) -- especially declined in the United States, the world's largest cocaine market, while in western European countries it began to stabilise for the first time after years of increases.

    Cannabis, the most widely used drug in the world, meanwhile saw a drop in consumption in developed countries, especially among young people, while opiates seemed to remain steady in most of western Europe, the UNODC said.

    Use of synthetic drugs, while appearing to level off in developed countries, had risen sharply in the Middle East, it noted, citing some European Union countries and Canada as major suppliers and traffickers of ecstasy.

    "International efforts are paying off," UNODC director Antonio Maria Costa said upon presenting the report, noting a drop in cocaine seizures in West Africa after years of growth.

    But drug-related violence continued in central America and Africa, he said, calling on member states to clamp down on drugs to help users at home and developing countries abroad.

    "As long as demand for drugs persists, weak countries will always be targeted by traffickers," he said.

    "If Europe really wants to help Africa, it should curb its appetite for cocaine."

    Drug controls have created "an illicit black market of macro-economic proportions that uses violence and corruption," Costa admitted.

    But legalising them was not a solution, he said, calling instead for a new approach to drug control, emphasising medical help rather than prison sentences for users and providing opportunities to underprivileged youths in urban ghettos, while continuing to fight organised crime.

    "Illicit drugs pose a danger to health. That's why drugs are, and must remain, controlled," noted Costa.

    In some countries, five times as many people were jailed for using drugs than for trafficking.

    "This is a waste of money for the police, and a waste of lives for those thrown in jail," noted Costa.

    "Go after the piranhas, not the minnows," he added.

    Wed June 24, 2009
    Yahoo! News

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  1. Routemaster Flash
    I can't be the only person reading this and thinking "Great!". :)
  2. Johan73
    Use Of Several Drugs Declining, Synthetic Drugs On The Rise

    The international market for heroin, cocaine and marijuana is declining while demand for synthetic “party” drugs is on the rise, according to a new UN report.

    [IMGR=white]http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=9330&stc=1&d=1245956385[/IMGR]The UN Office of Drugs and Crime issued its findings on Wednesday. The report shows a 19 percent decrease in the cultivation of opium in Afghanistan, which is the source of 93 percent of the world’s opium.

    Additionally, cocaine cultivation in Columbia fell 18 percent while production dropped 28 percent compared to 2007.

    “Global coca production, at 845 tons, is at a five-year low, despite some increases in cultivation in Peru and the Bolivia,” according to the report.

    "The $50 billion global cocaine market is undergoing seismic shifts," said Antonio Maria Costa, UNODC Executive Director. "Purity levels and seizures (in main consumer countries) are down, prices are up, and consumption patterns are in flux. This may help explain the gruesome upsurge of violence in countries like Mexico. In Central America, cartels are fighting for a shrinking market."

    The report noted that cannabis is still the most widely used and cultivated drug in the world. What’s more, UNODC researchers estimate that the average tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content of hydroponic marijuana in North America has almost doubled in the past decade.

    “This has major implications for health, as evidenced by a significant rise in the number of people seeking treatment,” said the UNODC.

    The report suggested that the use of synthetic drugs, including amphetamines, methamphetamine and ecstasy have declined in the past, but their popularity appears to be increasing.

    “What was once a cottage industry has become big business. Industrial-sized laboratories in South East Asia - particularly in the Greater Mekong Sub-region - are producing massive quantities of methamphetamine tablets, and crystal meth and other substances like Ketamine,” according to the UNODC.

    The UNODC implicated Canada as a major trafficking hub for synthetic drugs including methamphetamine and ecstasy.

    Additionally, it noted that use of the amphetamine Captagon dramatically increased in the Near and Middle East as Saudi Arabia seized one third of all amphetamine group substances in the world in 2007.

    "International efforts are paying off," Costa said. "As long as demand for drugs persists, weak countries will always be targeted by traffickers. If Europe really wants to help Africa, it should curb its appetite for cocaine."

    Thursday, 25 June 2009, 10:00 CDT

    "This article is on the same topic as above but has some additional information so swim thought it might be a good addition to the thread."
  3. Garethn

    PHNOM PENH, 20 July 2008 (IRIN) - The production of sassafras oil, which is used to make the recreational drug ecstasy, in southwest Cambodia, is destroying trees, the livelihoods of local inhabitants and wreaking untold ecological damage, according to David Bradfield, adviser to the Wildlife Sanctuaries Project of Fauna and Flora International (FFI).

    The sassafras oil comes from the Cardamom Mountain area, one of the last forest wildernesses in mainland southeast Asia, and where the FFI project is based.

    "The illicit distilling of sassafras oil in these mountains is slowly but surely killing the forests and wildlife," Bradfield told IRIN. "The production of sassafras oil is a huge operation, which affects not only the area where the distilleries are actually located, but ripples outwards, leaving devastation and destruction in its wake."

    The livelihoods of 12,000-15,000 people who depend on hunting and gathering to survive in the wildlife sanctuary are at risk from the sassafras production operations.

    Cambodian sassafras oil is highly sought after as it is of the highest quality - over 90 percent pure, according to the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Cambodia, Lars Pedersen. "Massive amounts of sassafras oil are smuggled every year into Vietnam and Thailand from Cambodia," he said.

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