June 26 Following are figures and observations on global illicit drug production and use from the World Drug Report 2008 released on Thursday by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
WORLD DRUG USE
There were an estimated 165.5 million users of cannabis products (4 percent of the world's population between the ages of 15 and 64), compared with 24.7 million users of amphetamines, 16 million users of cocaine, 12 million users of heroin and 9 million users of the psychedelic methamphetamine drug known as ecstasy.
Approximately 208 million people or 4.9 percent of people aged 15 to 64 have used drugs at least once in the last 12 months.
OPIUM/HEROIN MARKET TRENDS
In 2007, the opium/heroin market continued to expand due to cultivation increases in Afghanistan, which pushed up the area under opium poppy cultivation worldwide by 17 percent. However, cultivation increased by 22 percent in southeast Asia, driven by a 29-percent rise in Myanmar. This was southeast Asia's first increase in six years.
Afghanistan produced 92 percent of the world's opium last year. Myanmar was the No. 2 producer.
In 2007, the total area under coca cultivation in Bolivia, Colombia and Peru increased 16 percent to 181,600 hectares (448,700 acres). This jump was driven mainly by a 27-percent increase in Colombia.
Despite these recent increases, the global area under coca cultivation continues to be lower than in the 1990s and 18 percent below the level recorded in 2000, 221,300 hectares (546,800 acres). Colombia continued to grow most of the coca.
Global cocaine production has remained stable over the last few years, reaching 994 metric tonnes in 2007, almost the same as in 2006 (984 metric tonnes). The majority of this amount -- 600 tonnes in 2007 -- came from Colombia.
Cocaine use has fallen in North America but is rising in Europe.
Cannabis, mostly in the form of marijuana and hashish, continues to dominate the world's illicit drug markets in terms of pervasiveness of cultivation, volume of production and number of consumers. Global cannabis leaf production is estimated to have stabilized at around 41,400 metric tonnes in 2006. There was a 27-percent decline in global cannabis seizures between 2004 and 2006.
Most was produced in North America in 2006 (55 percent). The consumer market for cannabis products dwarfs those for the other drug groups. (Compiled by Louis Charbonneau; Edited by Xavier Briand)