The war in Ukraine could be a boon for drug manufacturers, the UN warned on Monday.

"Reports from the Middle East and South East Asia tend to indicate that conflict situations can act as a magnet for the manufacture of synthetic drugs, which can in fact be produced anywhere," the report said. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in its annual report.

“This effect can be even greater when the conflict zone is close to large consumer markets,” he adds.

Today, UNODC is releasing the #WorldDrugReport 2022❗

The report showcases how conflicts exacerbated drug threats & shows production & trafficking of several substances reaching record levels in some regions.

June 27 |

16:00 CEST |

— UN Office on Drugs & Crime (@UNODC) June 27, 2022

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“The police are no longer there”

Before the Russian invasion, Ukraine already had a growing number of amphetamine laboratories, said expert Angela Me, interviewed by AFP.

Nearly 80 had been dismantled in 2020, compared to 17 in 2019. This production capacity “could expand if the conflict persists”.

“The police are no longer there to stop the activity of the laboratories,” she explains.

Angela Me also calls for monitoring the situation in Afghanistan, which produced 86% of the world's opium in 2021. In April, the supreme leader of the Taliban ordered a ban on poppy cultivation.

“We have to see if this will result in a drastic reduction”, underlines the expert, or if on the contrary the illicit fields will develop due to the deterioration of socio-economic conditions in this country.

Any change will have “repercussions on almost all regions of the world”, warns the UN.

A sharp increase in consumption

Some 284 million people worldwide – one in 18 in the 15-64 age group – have touched drugs in 2020, 26% more than a decade earlier.

While the majority are men, women make heavy use of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) but are "under-represented in treatment", deplores Angela Me. The latter mentions "a double stigma" and the need to put in place places where they feel "safe" and can stay with their children.

Another noteworthy figure is that cocaine production hit a new high of 1,982 tons in 2020. The UNODC report, which is a "preliminary assessment", is based on information the organization has based on responses submitted by Member States, its own offices and analysis of open sources, media and institutional reports.


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