UN Office on Drugs and Crime




United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)’s has recently released World Drug Report 2022.


  • Around 284 million people aged 15-64 used drugs worldwide in 2020, a 26 per cent increase over the previous decade.
  • Young people are using more drugs, with use levels today in many countries higher than with the previous generation.
  • Around 11.2 million people worldwide were injecting drugs. Around half of this number were living with hepatitis C, 1.4 million were living with HIV, and 1.2 million were living with both.

Early indications and effects of cannabis legalization

  • Cannabis legalization in North America appears to have increased daily cannabis use, especially potent cannabis products and particularly among young adults.
Continued growth in drug production and trafficking
  • Cocaine manufacture was at a record high in 2020, growing 11 per cent from 2019 to 1,982 tons. Cocaine seizures also increased, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, to a record 1,424 tons in 2020.
  • Trafficking of methamphetamine continues to expand geographically, with 117 countries reporting seizures of methamphetamine in 2016‒2020 versus 84 in 2006‒2010. the quantities of methamphetamine seized grew five-fold between 2010 and 2020.
  • Opium production worldwide grew seven per cent between 2020 and 2021 to 7,930 tons – predominantly due  to an increase in production in Afghanistan.
Key drug trends broken down by region
  • In many countries in Africa and South and Central America, the largest proportion of people in treatment for drug use disorders are there primarily for cannabis use disorders.
  • In the two largest markets for methamphetamine, seizures have been increasing – they rose by seven per cent in North America from the previous year, while in South-East Asia they increased by 30 per cent from the previous year, record highs in both regions.
  • A record high was also reported for methamphetamine seizures reported from South-West Asia, increasing by 50 per cent in 2020 from 2019.
  • In the United States and Canada, overdose deaths, predominantly driven by an epidemic of the non-medical use of fentanyl, continue to break records.
Conflict zones as magnets for synthetic drug production 
  • Illicit drug economies can flourish in situations of conflict and where the rule of law is weak, and in turn can prolong or fuel conflict.
  • In Eastern and South-Eastern Europe and in Central Asia, people are most often in treatment for opioid use disorders in United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
A possible growing capacity to manufacture amphetamine in Ukraine if the conflict persists
  • There was a significant increase in the number of reported clandestine laboratories in Ukraine, skyrocketing from 17 dismantled laboratories in 2019 to 79 in 2020.
The environmental impacts of drug markets
  • Environmental impacts include:
  • substantial deforestation associated with illicit coca cultivation,
  • waste generated during synthetic drug manufacture that can be 5-30 times the volume of the end product,
  • dumping of waste affecting soil, water and air directly, as well as organisms, animals and the food chain indirectly.
Ongoing gender treatment gap and disparities in drug use and treatment  
  • Women remain in the minority of drug users globally yet tend to increase their rate of drug consumption and progress to drug use disorders more rapidly than men do.
  • Women now represent an estimated 45-49 per cent of users of amphetamines and non-medical users of pharmaceutical stimulants, pharmaceutical opioids, sedatives, and tranquilizers.
As per the report, India is one of the world’s single-largest opiate markets in terms of users and likely vulnerable to increased
  • There are signs of intensification in trafficking of opiates originating in Afghanistan.

This can trigger increased levels of trafficking and associated organized crimes.