Sunday, June 26th marked the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, otherwise known as World Drug Day. This year’s theme, “Addressing drug challenges in health and humanitarian crises,” acknowledges the drug challenges faced by the international community arising from crisis situations. Take a moment and listen to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Executive Director, Ghada Waly, message for World Drug Day:

Coinciding with World Drug Day is release of the 2022 World Drug Report which gives a global overview of drug trends, production, and trafficking, with emphasis on the impacts of marijuana legalization, war, and gender disparities. Highlights include:
  • Marijuana legalization linked with increase in daily use, particularly high potent products and among adults, and increases in psychiatric disorders, suicides and hospitalizations
  • Carbon footprint of indoor marijuana between 16 and 100 times higher than outdoor marijuana
People who use drugs:
  • The number of people who used drugs in 2020 estimated at 284 million people between ages 15 and 64 and this is a 26% increase over previous ten years
  • More young people using drugs today than previous generations in many countries
  • Highest proportion of people in treatment for cannabis use disorder in many countries in Africa and South and Central America
  • Highest proportion of people in treatment for opioid use disorder in South-Eastern Europe and in Central Asia
  • Continuing disparities in drug use and treatment observed globally for women such as only 1 in 5 in treatment for amphetamine use disorder despite representing 1 in 2 amphetamine users
  • Women fulfill diverse roles in global cocaine trade
  • Record high levels of cocaine manufacturing with almost 90% trafficked through containers and/or by sea and increasing trafficking observed to Africa and Asia
  • Methamphetamine trafficking expanding globally with a five-fold increase in amount seized between 2010 and 2020
  • Carbon footprint of 1kg of cocaine 30 times higher than cocoa beans
  • 7% growth in global opium production while opium cultivation fell 16%
  • Overdose deaths driven primarily by fentanyl continue to shatter records in North America
  • Huge disparity in access to pharmaceutical opioids observed between North America and West and Central Africa with 7,500 more doses per 1 million inhabitants of controlled pain medication in North America
Conflict Zones:
  • Attractive for drug markets as can generate income and finance war
  • Growth in synthetic drug manufacturing as observed in Middle East and South-East Asia
  • Shifts in drug trafficking routes
  • Ukraine: Potential for growth in amphetamine production as observed with dramatic increase in number of dismantled clandestine laboratories from 5 in 2019 to 67 in 2020