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World Drug Use on the Rise – UN Report

World Drug Use on the Rise – UN Report

New York, Jun 29 2005 6:00PM

Global drug use has risen by some 8 per cent in the past year, with cannabis leading the way, and synthetic narcotics such as amphetamines and ecstasy declining, according to a new report out today from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

About 200 million people between the ages of 15 and 64 – or 5 per cent of the world's population – have used drugs over the last 12 months. That represents an increase from the previous year – by 15 million people, says the UNODC's World Drug Report 2005, launched today in Vienna.

The Report also notes a global increase in cannabis use, and says that the $320 billion global retail market for illicit drugs is larger than the gross domestic products of 90 per cent of the world's countries.

Marijuana and hashish remain far and away the most popular street drugs. Almost 161 million people had used cannabis at least once, up from about 150 million a year earlier. The use of cannabis is likely to grow in coming years, said the report by UNODC. However, the use of amphetamines and ecstasy dropped, mainly in the United States and South-East Asia, the report said.

The report says the main "problem drugs" globally for people seeking help at treatment centres are cocaine and opiates, such as heroin. The situation in Afghanistan will determine the size and development of the world's main opiate markets.

Following presidential elections last year, the Government is gradually making headway against the drug trade by strengthening its control over the country and those involved in the opium business. Still, the report notes that Afghanistan's opium harvest was still finding its way to consumer markets in Europe and other regions and purity levels were on the rise.


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