World Drug Report launched in Pretoria
Pretoria - On Monday 27 June, Mr. Mandiaye Niang, the new Regional Representative of UNODC Southern Africa, presented the 2011 World Drug Report at an official launch at the University of South Africa (UNISA) in Pretoria.
The World Drug Report is an annual publication providing comprehensive facts and figures on the global drug situation with respect to the supply and demand for illicit drugs. It has been recognised as presenting one of the most comprehensive pictures of the international drug problem and is a primary global tool in monitoring the collective fight against illicit drugs.
The event, which was attended by members of the diplomatic corps, South African government representatives, members of the South African Police Service (SAPS), NGOs and other civil society members, as well as media representatives, was opened by Prof. Molamu, Registrar of UNISA.
Prof. Molamu warned about the seemingly bleak global drug abuse situation and the devastating effects of abuse and trafficking of drugs on all of us. He emphasized the need for new collective and individual leadership, innovation and novel approaches. It is here that institutions like UNISA have to fulfill their role to research and to educate future generations of leaders.
UNODC Southern Africa Representative, Mandiaye Niang, opened his address by referring to the message of UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon for the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking and the day's theme:
Mr. Niang consequently highlighted the importance of the World Drug Report as part of efforts to create these healthy communities.
The 2011 World Drug Report shows that globally drug use has remained stable and some 210 million people, or 4.8 per cent of the population aged 15-64, took illicit substances at least once in the previous year. However, demand has soared for substances not under international control, such as piperazine and cathinone. The effects of cannabis are also being mimicked by synthetic cannabinoids, or "spice".
Estimates and analyses of developments and trends on the African continent are impeded by a very limited availability of recent and reliable data in many African countries. Nevertheless, data on the Southern African region, and on South Africa in particular, is more reliable and recent.
From left: UNODC Regional Representative Mandiaye Niang; CDA Chairperson Pitso Montwedi; UNISA Registrar Prof. Molamu.
Cannabis remains the most abused drug on the African continent followed by heroin. Amphetamine-type Stimulants (ATS) are used much less. The production of illicit drugs on the continent is dominated by cannabis herb cultivation mostly for local use and Morocco remains worldwide the biggest producer of cannabis resin, destined for the European markets. While only Egypt and South Africa have a history of ATS manufacturing, indicators suggest emerging ATS manufacturing in West Africa, as well as growing ATS trafficking from African countries, particularly West Africa, South Africa and East Africa, to East and South-East Asia. Furthermore, East Africa, but also South Africa, are increasingly being used as transhipment hubs for heroin and a diversification of cocaine trafficking routes, moving away from West Africa, seems to have resulted in increased use of South Africa between South America and Europe. These emerging trafficking trends are seen as a big potential threat for African countries, as many of these states lack the capacities to address the problem and increased trafficking often results in increased local consumption.
Following the presentation of the report, Mr. Pitso Montwedi, chairperson of the South African Central Drug Authority (CDA) addressed the audience and highlighted the growing awareness of the danger of drug abuse and trafficking in all levels of society and government in South Africa. As part of the CDA's efforts to increase awareness and to fight substance abuse through its National Drug Master Plan, the CDA conducted a "Snapshot Survey" of the drug situation in South African communities in all nine provinces. The survey aimed to assess the knowledge of community members of substance use and abuse, awareness of related problems, available services, as well as their needs, regarding prevention and assistance by the government. This study, some of its results and implications were presented by Dr. Eberlein from the CDA. Among other things, the study showed that while the majority of respondents in communities knew and understood what substance abuse was and 65% said that a person abusing substances was living with them, 60% did not have knowledge of available support services. Asked which factors increase substance abuse, the Availability was ranked highest followed by Family History, Poverty and Unemployment.
The 2011 World Drug Report is available for download here.