The UN Office on Drugs and Crime has released its 2010 report on the status of the international trafficking and use of illegal addictive drugs. The report notes a general trend in the lower use of cocaine and opium, as a result of the increased crackdown on international drug producers and smugglers. However, it is alarming to note that these drugs are being replaced by synthetic drugs manufactured domestically at low cost.
In addition to providing a comprehensive report on production, transportation and use of different drugs by country, the report provides a chapter on destabilizing influence of drug trafficking on transit countries, especially when the drug business is large enough to rival the GDP of the country.
A clear sign that crime has become a national security threat comes when exceptional legal and security measures are taken, including calling on the military to help re-establish the government’s authority.—World Drug Report 2010
One notable trend is the decline in the U.S. for Andean cocaine and the increase of consumption in Europe and the Southern Cone of South America. Major transit nations include Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and West Africa, with Venezuela being the departure for over 50% of sea trafficking for cocaine. Murder rates in trafficking areas have risen dramatically in the last twenty years, especially in Venezuela.
The world’s largest opium producer is Afghanistan, with Laos and Myanmar a distant second and third. The largest consumer of raw opium is Iran, and the heroine produced from opium is mainly consumed in the Russian Federation and Western Europe.
Cannabis and a growing amphetamine use tend to be produced domestically and therefore less subject to international trafficking. While amphetamine use is increasing globally, in countries where its markets have matured there has been some decline.
The World Drug Report 2010 is over 300 pages long and is loaded with statistical information.