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Drug Production, Trafficking, Consumption Grows Globally: UNODC

By Antonio Gozain | Tue, 06/28/2022 - 12:31

Drug production, trafficking, consumption and seizure increased globally over the past two years, especially cannabis and cocaine, according to the World Drug Report 2022 of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Legalization of marijuana in several places accelerated its daily consumption and related health consequences.

“Numbers for the manufacturing and seizures of many illicit drugs are hitting record highs, even as global emergencies are deepening vulnerabilities. At the same time, misperceptions regarding the magnitude of the problem and the associated harms are depriving people of care and treatment and driving young people towards harmful behaviors,” said Ghada Waly, Executive Director, UNODC.

The report outlined that about 284 million 15 to 64-year-olds used drugs in 2020. This figure represents a 26 percent increase since 2010. Globally, 11.2 million people were estimated to inject drugs, about half of them were living with hepatitis C, 1.4 million with HIV and 1.2 million with both. In Africa and Latin America, individuals under 35 years old represent most of those being treated for drug use disorders.

In the US, legalized cannabis on a state level “appears to have increased daily usage,” particularly among young adults. In addition to increasing tax revenues, “it has also caused a reported surge among people with psychiatric disorders, increased suicides and hospitalizations while generally reducing possession arrests,” says UNODC.

Global cocaine manufacturing grew by 11 percent in 2020 compared to the previous year to 1,982 tons. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, seizures increased to a record 1,424 tons. Methamphetamine (meth) trafficking continues to expand geographically, with 117 countries reporting seizures from 2016-2020, compared to 84 countries from 2006-2010. Meth seizures have been increasing in North America and South-East Asia, the two largest meth markets, by 7 percent and 30 percent, respectively.

Meth Consumption Prevails in Mexico

Mexico reported a 218 percent increase in the amount of people in treatment for the use of meth stimulants between 2013 and 2020, due to the exponential growth of clandestine laboratories, according to the UNODC report.

Changes in precursors used in the synthesis of methamphetamines are a clear trend in Mexico and a rapid response by criminal groups to the greater control of chemical precursors by governments, said Sofía Díaz, Project Coordinator Mexico, UNODC: “Mexico is the only country in the continent where methamphetamines have become the main drug causing treatment. It is a reflection of both consumer preference and production dynamics in countries that have high production rates.”

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
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Antonio Gozain Antonio Gozain Journalist and Industry Analyst