Abuse of prescription drugs and of the new psychoactive substance (NPS) is growing - surpassing the use of traditional drugs such as heroin and cocaine - the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)'s 2013 World Drug Report revealed yesterday.
The report shows that the amount of NPS reported to UNODC rose from 166 at the end of 2009 to 251 by mid-2012, an increase of more than 50 per cent. For the first time, NPS exceeded the total number of substances under international control (234).
Justice permanent-secretary Kittipong Kitayarat and Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) chief Pol General Pongsapat Pongcharoen cited the report as saying that the global picture for the use of traditional drugs such as heroin and cocaine shows some stability. B ut the psychoactive substance abuse in South East Asia (SEA) and opium growing were on rise. Most drug arrests in East Asia and SEA involved meth-amphetamine.
Afghanistan retained its position as lead producer and cultivator of opium globally (75 per cent of global illicit opium production in 2012), followed by Myanmar at 24 per cent, the report said.
According to the report, the prevalence of people who inject drugs and are also living with HIV in 2011 was lower than previously estimated: 14.0 million people between the ages of 15 and 64 are estimated to be injecting drugs, while 1.6 million people who inject drugs are also living with HIV.
The revised estimates are 12 per cent lower for the number of people who inject drugs and 46 per cent lower for the number of people who inject drugs and are living with HIV.