Counter-narcotics Requires Joint Action

Drug-related problem is prevalent

On June 26, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) presented the World Drug Report 2020. According to the report, overall drug use remains stable globally, RISS expert Irina Komissina says. Cannabis is by far the most widely cultivated, trafficked and abused illicit drug. An estimated 192 million people used cannabis in 2018, making it the most used drug globally. Cannabis market undergoes transition amid changes in legal status in some countries. Steadily but surely, tobacco and alcohol companies are investing in the cannabis industry in North America. As a result, non-medical cannabis use is rapidly growing, especially in those countries where it has been legalized.

The global market for synthetic drugs continues to be dominated by methamphetamine and cocaine. While about 19 million people used cocaine in 2018, approximately 27 million people used amphetamines the same year. Amphetamine is the most popular drug in Southeast Asia. Production of plant-based drugs also remains high. Opioids pose a serious threat to health; there is a great risk of addiction and overdose. Over the past decade, the total number of deaths due to opioid poisoning has increased by 71%.

According to the estimates contained in the UNODC World Drug Report, synthetic drugs are becoming increasingly popular in Russia and Central Asia while demand for opium is dropping. There is a significant decline in both opiate use and illicit trafficking between 2008 and 2018. "Drug-related problem is prevalent and requires joint action aimed at helping countries with limited resources and capabilities," Komissina concluded.

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