World Drug Report 2022


    In News

    • UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)’s released World Drug Report 2022.

    Highlights of the report

    • 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. 
      • Seizure data suggest that cocaine trafficking is expanding to other regions outside the main markets of North America and Europe, with increased levels of trafficking to Africa and Asia.
      • 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 Eastern and South-Eastern Europe and in Central Asia, people are most often in treatment for opioid use disorders.
      • In the United States and Canada, overdose deaths, predominantly driven by an epidemic of the non-medical use of fentanyl, continue to break records.
      • Great inequality remains in the availability of pharmaceutical opioids for medical consumption.
    • Conflict zones as magnets for synthetic drug production:  
      • Report also highlights that 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.
      • Information from the Middle East and South-East Asia suggest that conflict situations can act as a magnet for the manufacture of synthetic drugs, which can be produced anywhere. 
    • 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:
      • Illicit drug markets, according to the 2022 World Drug Report, can have local, community or individual-level impacts on the environment. 
      • Key findings include that the carbon footprint of indoor cannabis is between 16 and 100 times more than outdoor cannabis on average and that the footprint of 1 kilogram of cocaine is 30 times greater than that of cocoa beans.
      • Other environmental impacts include substantial deforestation associated with illicit coca cultivation, waste generated during synthetic drug manufacture and the dumping of waste which can affecting soil, water and air directly, as well as organisms, animals and the food chain indirectly.

    Drug Trafficking in India

    • For the last three decades India has become a transit hub as well as a destination for heroin and hashish produced in the Golden Triangle and the Golden Crescent
    • In addition, various psychotropic and pharmaceutical preparations and precursor chemicals produced domestically as well as in various parts of the world are also trafficked through Indian Territory. 
    • The two-way illegal flow of these drugs and chemicals not only violates India’s borders, but also poses a significant threat to national security.
    • India has been a traditional consumer of opium and various cannabis derivatives (bhang, marijuana/ganja and hashish). 
    • These narcotics were mostly consumed for medicinal purposes, for recreation or during religious and social ceremonies. 
    • Earlier, almost all the demands for these drugs were met locally
    • Only a small quantity of hashish was smuggled in from Nepal and Pakistan.

    Different drug trafficking patterns 

    India-Pakistan border: 

    • The proximity of the India-Pakistan border to the Golden Crescent’, the largest producer of opium and cannabis in the world, has made it vulnerable to the trafficking of heroin and hashish.

    India-Nepal border: 

    • Hashish and marijuana/ganja are the two cannabis derivatives that have been traditionally trafficked from Nepal into India. 
    • Lately, a growing demand for Nepalese and Bhutanese cannabis in India and a corresponding demand for codeine based pharmaceutical preparations as well as low-grade heroin in Nepal and Bhutan have resulted in two way smuggling of narcotics and drugs through the India-Nepal and India-Bhutan borders.

    India-Myanmar border: 

    • Proximity of the India-Myanmar border to the Golden Triangle‘, growing demand for drugs among the local population in the North eastern states, political instability and insecurity brought about by numerous insurgencies in the region as well as a porous and poorly guarded border provided a proliferating environment for traffickers to smuggle heroin and psychotropic substances into the country through the India-Myanmar border. 

    India-Bangladesh border: 

    • The India-Bangladesh border has been susceptible to smuggling of various kinds of drugs ranging from heroin, marijuana/ganja, hashish, brown sugar, cough syrups, etc. 
    • High demand for codeine based cough syrups in Bangladesh, a highly porous border, dense settlement along the border, and strong trans-border ethnic ties contribute towards drug trafficking along the India-Bangladesh border.

    Approach to reduce supply as well as demand for narcotics and drugs

    • India has adopted a comprehensive approach of reducing supply as well as demand for narcotics and drugs. The approach comprises four elements:
    • first, enacting legislation;
    • second, ensuring physical security of the borders and coasts;
    • third, eliciting cooperation from neighbours and;
    • fourth, co-operating with voluntary organizations in the national endeavour to prevent abuse of narcotics and synthetic drugs.

    Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985

    • The Parliament of India passed the NDPS Act on 14 November 1985. 
    • The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS Act), 1985 was passed with the intent of controlling drug abuse and prohibiting the use, distribution, manufacture, and trade of drugs. 
    • The Act includes provisions for the cultivation of cannabis, poppy, and coca plants as well as the manufacturing of psychotropic substances in connection with the cultivation of these plants.
    • Its primary objective is to regulate the manufacturing, possession, sale, and transportation of drugs that are considered narcotics or psychotropics. 
    • As a result of this act, 200 psychotropic substances are prohibited from sale to walk-in customers. 
    • Prescriptions are required to obtain these drugs. 
    • There have been multiple amendments to the law since it was established.


    Source: TH