Un report on drug use 2005: cannabis up
More people around the world are smoking cannabis, but there has been a decline in the use of amphetamines and ecstasy, an annual United Nations report on drug use says. The number of people aged 15 to 64 using drugs at least once a year increased by 15 million to 200 million, said the report released Wednesday in Stockholm.
Worldwide drug sales were estimated at $320 billion US - more than the GDP of 88 per cent of the world’s countries, said the report, based on figures from 2003 and 2004. Cannabis remained the most popular drug, being used by 161 million people. That marks an increase of about 11 million from the year before. Amphetamines were second favourite, although their use had dropped primarily in the United States and Southeast Asia to 26 million people. Almost eight million people used ecstasy, the report said.
Poor weather in Afghanistan had cut the cultivation of poppies, which are used to make opiates such as heroin, and helped to limit the global increase in opiate production to just two per cent. Opiate production in Southeast Asia, once renowned for its drug trading Golden Triangle linking Burma, Thailand and Laos, had plummeted by 78 per cent since 1996.
However, coca cultivation expanded in Peru and Bolivia and overall South American cocaine production failed to fall, the report said.