Opium production in Asia is set to rise, the International Narcotics Control Board warned in its annual report published Tuesday.
Hamid Ghose, president of the Vienna-based UN agency, pointed to several factors which he said "could lead to even further increases in production beyond 2011".
"The combination of spreading opium poppy cultivation in provinces in Afghanistan, a substantial increase in the farm-gate price of opium, and planned decreases in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)," were the factors cited in the report.
While North America remains the biggest market for drugs overall, Europe is the biggest consumer of opiates and the variety of substances consumed in the region continues to grow.
According to the INCB's figures, cannabis production is going up, sometimes reaching almost "an industrial scale", while heroine causes the most problems in terms of health and mortality. Europe is the world's second biggest market for cocaine.
Published on 28 February 2012 - 1:04pm