The non-medical use of prescription drugs is becoming a major threat to public health and law enforcement, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) says.
Opioids are causing “the most harm and accounting for 76 percent of deaths where drug use disorders were implicated”, UNODC reported.
“From 2016-2017, global opium production jumped by 65 per cent to 10,500 tonnes, the highest estimate recorded by UNODC since it started monitoring global opium production at the start of the twenty-first century.
“A marked increase in opium poppy cultivation and gradually improving yields in Afghanistan resulted in opium production there last year reaching 9,000 tonnes”, UNODC reported.
Fentanyl in North America and tramadol in parts of Africa and Asia are of concern to the drug and crime monitoring body, which put the global seizure of pharmaceutical opioids in 2016 at 87 tonnes, “roughly the same as the quantities of heroin seized that year”.
Cocaine manufacture in 2016 hit a record at 1,410 tonnes produced worldwide, most from Colombia.
The report suggests drug consumption and trafficking are on the rise in Africa and Asia.