News / Asia

UN: Afghanistan, Burma Main Producers of Opium

An Afghan man collects resin from poppies in an opium poppy field in Panjwai district of Kandahar province,  Afghanistan, May 21, 200
An Afghan man collects resin from poppies in an opium poppy field in Panjwai district of Kandahar province, Afghanistan, May 21, 200

A new U.N. report on illegal drugs says Afghanistan accounts for the majority of the world’s production of opium, while trends show production in Burma to be on the rise. The report also found that between 12 and 21 million people worldwide use opiates, with three-quarters of them using heroin.

The U.N.’s drug czar, Yury Fedotov, said at the report’s launch Thursday that illicit drug use is harmful to stability, security and health in many parts of the world.

“Drug trafficking is fueling a global criminal enterprise worth hundreds of billions of dollars that wreck havoc on communities and undermining development and security in many countries in the world. We are also witnessing more and more acts of violence, conflicts and terrorist activities stoked by drug trafficking and organized crime,” he said.

He noted progress on two fronts, supply and demand, saying global markets for the world’s two most problematic drugs - cocaine and heroin, declined last year. Heroin consumption has stabilized in Europe and cocaine consumption has declined in North America - the most lucrative markets for these drugs.

But he said those positive developments were offset by worrying trends elsewhere, particularly in the increased use of synthetic and prescription drugs.

The report, which distilled data from 2007 through 2010, found that cannabis is the world’s most popular illicit drug, with between 125 and 203 million people using it in 2009.

In 2009, the global opiate market was valued at $68 billion, largely due to heroin use.

Fedotov said Afghanistan continued to be the world’s leading grower of opium poppies accounting for 74 percent of global production in 2010, a 14 percent drop from the year before. But he said this was due to a blight [plant disease] that wiped out half the country’s poppy crop, and that production is likely to bounce back this year due to better yields.

“In Afghanistan, opium cultivation is closely linked to insecurity and trafficking opium and heroin is helping to spread instability throughout the wider region. The international community understands that confronting the problem of Afghan opium is a shared responsibility that requires a coordinated response,” Fedotov said.

He noted a disturbing trend in Burma, also known as Myanmar, saying its share in global production had risen from five percent to 12 percent between 2007 and 2010.

Fedotov said amphetamine-type stimulants are the second most widely used group of illegal drugs, noting that over the last 12 years consumption of these drugs has grown most rapidly in developing countries, especially South East Asia.

Meanwhile, West Africa has become an important transit hub for drug traffickers, while South America - a major cocaine producer - is now a significant consumer of the drug as well.

Speaking at the report’s launch, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said there are more than 200 million illicit drug users worldwide and their addiction kills one of them every three minutes. He said drug addiction should be treated as a disease, not a crime.

You May Like

Ukraine President Appeals for More US Support

Speaking before Congress ahead of meeting with President Obama, Petro Poroshenko urges lawmakers to back Ukraine in its quest for freedom and democracy More

Photogallery Global Audience Watches as Scots Go to the Polls

People were almost equally divided over a vote for independence, watched closely by Britain's allies, investors and restive regions at home and abroad More

China to Invest $20B in India Amid Border Dispute

Border spat between armies of two countries in Himalayas underlines mutual tensions despite growing commercial ties highlighted by Xi Jinping's high-profile visit More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid