Pubdate: Fri, 24 Jun 2016
Source: Herald, The (South Africa)
Copyright: 2016 The Herald


GLOBAL opium production plunged almost 40% last year but the world 
remains awash with heroin, the narcotic that still kills the most 
people worldwide, the United Nations said yesterday.

UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) head Yury Fedotov said: "Heroin 
continues to be the drug that kills the most people and this 
resurgence must be addressed urgently."

A UNODC report said production of opium, which is processed into 
heroin, had fallen to 4 770 tons last year, a 38% plunge from 2014.

The report also said the sharp fall was unlikely to lead to major 
shortages in heroin supplies since traffickers had built up massive 
stockpiles in recent years.

Globally, about 5% of adults, or 250 million people, had consumed at 
least one drug in 2014, the UNODC said.

Of the estimated 29 million heavy users, about 17 million are 
addicted to opiates, which include heroin, opium and morphine.

However, the global cocaine market appeared to be shrinking.

Meanwhile, dagga remains the world's most commonly used drug, with an 
estimated 183 million consumers.

The report said the West's growing liberal attitude toward the drug 
had gone hand in hand with a worrying increase in heavy users.

The UNODC also expressed concern over the continued proliferation of 
new narcotics developed from natural or synthetic substances to 
circumvent existing drug laws.

- - AFP
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