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US: Psychoactive Drugs Pose Worldwide Threat

FILE - The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of the U.S. Department of Justice released photo shows heroin seized from "Seaboard Pride" at Port of Miami, Florida on January 10, 2012 and released in New York on February 4, 2014.

Illegal heroin and psychoactive substances pose emerging worldwide threats, an annual State Department report to Congress said.

The International Narcotics Control Strategy report, released Wednesday, offers details on efforts by foreign governments to reduce drug production and trafficking and related money laundering and terrorist financing.

Improved international reporting on drug use has led to a better understanding of heroin and psychoactive drug problems worldwide, a State Department representative told VOA on background.

Resurgence of heroin use

More than half of the countries listed in the report cite heroin as one of their major drug control problems. The resurgence of heroin in the United States was also listed as among the "most unwelcome recent developments" in the control of illegal narcotics.

Cocaine use also increased, with rates growing in "many countries and regions where it was uncommon only a decade or so ago," the report said.

The report also found psychoactive drugs are a "rapidly spreading danger, particularly in Africa and in much of Asia" due to cheap production and the difficulty of regulating their manufacture.

Colombian anti-narcotics policemen inspect packs of cocaine at the police base in Necocli, Feb. 24, 2015.
Colombian anti-narcotics policemen inspect packs of cocaine at the police base in Necocli, Feb. 24, 2015.

The U.S. released the report ahead of the United Nations General Assembly's first session on drug control for the international community in almost 20 years. The session is set for April.

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    Katherine Gypson

    Katherine Gypson is a reporter for VOA’s News Center in Washington, D.C.  Prior to joining VOA in 2013, Katherine produced documentary and public affairs programming in Afghanistan, Tunisia and Turkey. She also produced and co-wrote a 12-episode road-trip series for Pakistani television exploring the United States during the 2012 presidential election. She holds a Master’s degree in Journalism from American University. Follow her @kgyp