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UN drug report sheds light on cannabis, cocaine and methamphetamine trends – Global issues

The World Drug Report 2022 also details the environmental consequences of the illicit drug trade, the expansion of synthetic drugs into new markets, and unprecedented cocaine production.

The number of production and seizure of many types of illegal drugs is reaching a record higheven as global emergencies are deepening security holes,” speakUNODC Chief Ghada Waly.

“At the same time, misperceptions about the importance of the problem and its accompanying harms are depriving people of care and treatment and driving young people to harmful behaviours.”

Global overview

The report indicates that around 284 million 15- to 64-year-olds used drugs in 2020, representing a 26% increase over the course of a decade.

Globally, an estimated 11.2 million people inject drugs, about half of whom are living with hepatitis C; 1.4 million people are infected with HIV and 1.2 million people are infected with both.

In Africa and Latin America, people under the age of 35 represent most of those receiving treatment for a drug use disorder..

Consequences of legalizing marijuana

In North America, state-level legalization of cannabis – especially new potent products containing high levels of addictive THC – appears to have increased daily use, especially among young people. age.

In addition to increasing tax revenues, it has also caused a reported increase in the number of people with mental disorders, an increase in suicides and hospitalizations while generally decreasing possession of possessions. .

Cocaine, meth and opium

In 2020, global cocaine production increased 11% year-on-year to 1,982 tonnes and although COVID-19 pandemic, seizure increased to a record 1,424 tons.

Almost 90% of cocaine seized last year was trafficked by land and/or sea, to areas beyond the usual markets of North America and Europe.

The methamphetamine (or meth) trade continues to expand geographicallywith 117 countries reporting arrests between 2016 and 2020, compared with 84 from 2006-2010, with a staggering fivefold increase in volume, from 2010 to 2020.

While the global area used to grow opium poppy decreased globally by 16% to 246,800 hectares between 2020 and 2021, increased production in Afghanistan spiked by 7% to 7,930 tons during that period.

Key drug trends

Most drug addicts across Africa, South and Central America are primarily treated for cannabis abuse while those in Eastern and Southeastern Europe and Central Asia most often ask for help because opioid abuse.

In the United States and Canada, drug overdose deaths, mainly due to the pandemic of non-medical fentanyl use – can be fatal in small doses and are often used to ‘cut down’ drugs. other drugs such as street cocaine – continued outbreak Records.

There were an estimated 107,000 drug overdoses in the US last year, up from nearly 92,000 in 2020..

Conflict area magnets

Meanwhile, the report reveals data from the Middle East and Southeast Asia that show conflict can act as a magnet for the production of synthetic drugs, which could increase if violence takes place near markets. large consumer market.

Historically, parties to conflict have often used illicit drug profits to finance war.

Conflict can also disrupt and alter drug trafficking routes, as has happened in the Balkans and most recently in Ukraine, since Russia annexed Crimea and separatists took control of the regions. Eastern Region in 2014.

Indoor cannabis leaves between 16 and 100 times larger carbon emissions than outdoor cannabis.

Reported secret laboratories in Ukraine have skyrocketed from 17 demolished in 2019, to 79 in 2020 – 67 of them are producing amphetamines – the highest number of disassembled laboratories reported in any country, in 2020.

Environmental impact

According to the report, the carbon footprint of indoor cannabis is between 16 and 100 times greater than that of outdoor cannabis – due to the high energy demands of artificial cultivation. And it’s 30 times greater for lab-produced cocaine than for cocoa bean production.

Other environmental impacts include significant deforestation associated with illegal coca cultivation; waste generated during the production of synthetic drugs, which can be 5-30 times the volume of the final product; and dumping other wastes that can directly affect soil, water and air.

UNODC says other organisms, animals, and the overall food chain, are indirectly affected.

Gender Gap

The report said that while women still make up a minority of drug users globally, their consumption rates are increasing faster than average than men’s and are receiving less treatment.

They used an estimated 45-49% of amphetamines and non-pharmaceutical stimulants, pharmaceutical opioids, sedatives, and tranquilizers.

And although women represent almost one in two amphetamine users, they represent only one in five people in treatment for amphetamine use.

Furthermore, they play a wide range of roles in the global cocaine economy, from growing coca to transporting small quantities and selling to consumers.

“We need to dedicate the necessary resources and attention to addressing every aspect of the world drug problem, including providing evidence-based care to all who need it, and we need to improve our knowledge base about how illegal drugs are related to other urgent issues. challenges, such as conflict and environmental degradation,” said UNODC chief Ghada Waly.

Global drug users as estimated in the World Drug Report 2022.

UNODC

Global drug users as estimated in the World Drug Report 2022.

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