(Reuters) - The United Nations International Narcotics Control Board released its annual report on Wednesday detailing global trends in drug use and accusing prosecutors of sending out the wrong message by being soft on celebrity addicts.
Below is a summary of the report’s findings by region.
— West Africa is developing into major smuggling route for cocaine from Latin America to Europe.
— Cannabis continues to be Africa’s most abused drug with consumption rising, increasing mental health problems.
— There is an rise in heroin trafficking, usually by air from Asia to East Africa.
— Cannabis potency has increased sharply since the 1960s.
— Colombian cocaine makes up 90 percent of the drugs smuggled into the United States.
— Drug-trafficking is controlled by powerful criminal organizations waging war against Mexican authorities.
— An estimated 6.4 million Americans abuse prescription drugs containing internationally-controlled substances.
— Canada should end program distributing crack pipes and similar equipment to addicts.
— Entire region is affected by large-scale cultivation of coca bush, opium poppy and cannabis plants along with manufacture and trafficking
— There has been a significant reduction in coca bush cultivation in Colombia, but an increase in Peru and Bolivia. The Colombian decrease has been partly offset by greater efficiency in the growing and manufacture of drugs.
— Some opium cultivation continues in Myanmar and Laos.
— With an increase in illicit poppy cultivation of 17 percent in 2007, Afghanistan now accounts for 93 percent of total global illicit market in opiates.
— Estimated Afghan opium production is 8,200 tonnes a year.
— Large-scale drug smuggling and trafficking through Afghanistan’s neighbors is fuelling rising drug dependence, crime and HIV infection. Iran has highest rate of opiate abuse in the world.
— Cannabis and heroin increasingly trafficked through South Asia, with some South American cocaine smuggled to India for exchange for mainly Afghan heroin.
— Western Europe remains world’s largest market for cannabis resin, although seizures of cannabis decreased in some countries possibly due to reduced production in Morocco. Italy and Spain have highest prevalence of cannabis use, with Bulgaria, Greece, Malta and Romania the lowest. The United Kingdom has reported a decrease in cannabis prevalence.
— Europe is the second largest global market for cocaine, with highest rates of cocaine abuse in Spain, the UK and Italy.
— Almost all European heroin originates in Afghanistan, mostly smuggled in through Turkey and the Balkans or via Central Asia and Russia.
— Europe remains a major global source for amphetamines.
— Abuse of cannabis and amphetamine-type stimulants is among the highest in the world, with 11 percent of over-14s in Australia abusing cannabis.
— Pacific island states increasingly being used as transit areas for smuggling of amphetamines and other illicit drugs.