World Drug Report 2018: Opioid crisis, prescription drug abuse expands
New Delhi: The non-medical use of prescription drugs is becoming a major threat to public health and law enforcement worldwide.
Opiods are causing the most harm and accounting for 76 per cent of deaths where drug use disorders were implicated, according to the latest World Drug Report, released today by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Fentanyl and its analogues remain a problem in North America, while tramadol – an opioid used to treat moderate and moderate-to-severe pain – has become a growing concern in parts of Africa and Asia.
Accessibility of fentanyl and tramadol for medical use is vital for treating pain, but traffickers manufacture them illicitly and promote them in illegal markets causing considerable harm to health.
The global seizure of pharmaceutical opioids in 2016 was 87 tons, roughly the same as the quantities of heroin seized that year. Seizures of pharmaceutical opioids – mainly tramadol in West and Central Africa, and North Africa accounted for 87 per cent of the global total in 2016. Countries in Asia, which had previously accounted for more than half of global seizures, reported just 7 per cent of the global total in 2016.
Global cocaine manufacture in 2016 reached the highest level ever reported, with an estimated 1,410 tons being produced. Most of the world’s cocaine comes from Colombia while the Report also showed that Africa and Asia are emerging as cocaine trafficking and consumption hubs.
From 2016-2017, global opium production jumped by 65 per cent to 10,500 tons, the highest estimate recorded by UNODC since it started monitoring global opium production at the start of the twenty-first century. A marked increase in opium poppy cultivation and gradually improving yields in Afghanistan resulted in opium production there last year reaching 9,000 tons.
“The findings of this year’s World Drug Report show that drug markets are expanding, with cocaine and opium production hitting absolute record highs, presenting multiple challenges on multiple fronts,” UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov said.