The work of the Permanent Central Opium Board in 1961

Abstract

The Annual Report of the Permanent Central Opium Board to the Economic and Social Council on its work has been a regular item on the agenda of both the Council and the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. The report of the Board's work in 1961 (document E/OB/17)presents an over-all picture of the legal trade in narcotics throughout the world in 1960, derived from the statistics submitted to the Board by governments in pursuance of the international conventions of 19 February 1925 and 13 July 1931 and of the Protocol of 19 November 1948. Extracts of the chapter of this report entitled "Trends in the licit movement of narcotic drugs in 1960" follow:

Details

Pages: 44 to 46
Creation Date: 1962/01/01

The work of the Permanent Central Opium Board in 1961

The Annual Report of the Permanent Central Opium Board to the Economic and Social Council on its work has been a regular item on the agenda of both the Council and the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. The report of the Board's work in 1961 (document E/OB/17)presents an over-all picture of the legal trade in narcotics throughout the world in 1960, derived from the statistics submitted to the Board by governments in pursuance of the international conventions of 19 February 1925 and 13 July 1931 and of the Protocol of 19 November 1948. Extracts of the chapter of this report entitled "Trends in the licit movement of narcotic drugs in 1960" follow:

Raw Opium

In 1960, production reached 1,498 tons, or 36% more than in 1959 (1,098 tons) and 70% more than the yearly average for the period 1956-1959 (883 tons). The following table shows how the different producing countries shared in the increase.

(Tons)

 

Average 1956-1959

1959

1960

India ..................
563 763 914
Turkey ................
163 168 365
USSR .................
119 132 169
Yugoslavia ...........
22 26 40
Other countries.......
16 9 10
 
--
--
--
TOTAL.......
883 1 098 1 498

Opium is also produced in the Shan States in Burma, but no figures of production in that area are available.

During the years 1954 to 1958, production fell short of demand, and in 1959 only equalled it. Stocks therefore dropped from 1,750 tons to 860 tons during that period. Opium requirements in 1960 did not increase to the same extent as production; hence the stocks in hand at the close of the year rose again, reaching 1,270 tons, or 16 months' requirements. The surplus remained in producing countries, whose stocks rose from 500 tons to 900 tons in the course of 1960.

In 1960, 964 tons were utilized, or 7% above either the 1959 figure or the yearly average for the period 1956-1959 both being set at 903 tons. The use of opium for quasi-medical purposes is now negligible, amounting to only 1% of total utilization in 1960; non-medical consumption is licit only in the Shan States of Burma, and no statistics of this are available. Medical consumption of opium in the form of medicinal preparations has accounted for some 30 tons. Thus licit production of opium goes almost entirely into the manufacture of morphine, most of which is ultimately converted into codeine.

Poppy Straw

Under the conventions at present in force, the statistics to be furnished to the Board in respect of poppy straw relate only to the amount used in the manufacture of morphine and to the amount of morphine obtained therefrom. Nevertheless, certain countries have supplied additional particulars of their own accord: France has submitted full accounts, Switzerland has reported imports and stocks and the Netherlands imports and exports.

In 1960, 19,000 tons of straw were utilized and yielded 30 tons of morphine - the highest figures ever recorded. The next highest were those of 1958: 14,000 and 22 tons respectively. The increase does not reflect the spread of this particular industry into new countries but its expansion in those countries which are accustomed to use poppy straw - in particular the Netherlands, Poland and Czechoslovakia.

One-quarter of the total amount of morphine produced in 1960 was obtained from poppy straw. Only in 1953 was this proportion equalled, and even slightly exceeded, but during that year the amount of morphine extracted from opium was particularly low.

Coca Leaves

Licit production takes place in four countries: Bolivia, Colombia, Indonesia and Peru. In 1960, it amounted to 9,000 tons in Peru, 100 tons in Colombia, and less than one ton in Indonesia. Bolivia sent in no statistics for that year, the last figure reported being 2,700 tons (in 1957). The figures indicate a downward trend, but it should be borne in mind that at best they are approximations.

Coca leaves are primarily used for non-medical purposes - that is to say for chewing, by inhabitants of the Andean region of South America. According to the statistics supplied to the Board, the following quantities were so consumed during the period 1956-1960:

(Tons)

 

1956

1957

1958

1959

1960

Peru
9 450 9 954 9 203 8 789 8 793
Bolivia
?
2 590
2 495 *
2 104 *
?
Argentina
14 152 80 115 86
Colombia
80 32 29 28 26

* Incomplete.

In comparison, the requirements for medical purposes - that is to say, for the manufacture of cocaine - are minute (less than 3%) and are decreasing, the figures being 309 tons in 1956 and 274 tons in 1960.

Cannabis

In 1952, the World Health Organization expressed the opinion that cannabis preparations were practically obsolete and that their medical use was no longer justified. Nevertheless, cannabis was still used in sixteen countries, including India, where the drug is used in indigenous medicine.

Manufactured drugs

Morphine

After remaining between 108 and 112 tons during the three years 1957 to 1959, annual production rose to 120 tons in 1960, the maximum ever recorded. The following table shows how the manufacturing countries shared in the increase. Those whose output did not reach 10 tons in 1960 are grouped together as "other countries ", of which there were 22.

(Tons)

 

Average1957-1959

1959

1960

United Kingdom
18 17 18
USSR.
16 18 18
United States
18 17 17
Federal Republic of Germany
13 13 13
Other countries
45 43 54
TOTAL
110 108 120

It will be observed that most of the increase in 1960 took place in "other countries" - notably Hungary, where production rose by 2.9 tons, the Netherlands (2.4 tons) and Poland (1.5 tons). In all three countries, poppy straw was the sole raw material.

Annual requirements remained between 108 and 109 tons during the years 1957 to 1959 and rose to 114 tons in 1960, thus showing a trend similar to that of production. The increase is entirely caused by the ever-growing demand for codeine, which in 1960 called for the conversion of 101 tons of morphine. A further 9 tons were converted into ethyl-morphine and pholcodine. The consumption of morphine as such, on the other hand, decreased from 4.4 tons in 1956 to 3.6 tons in 1960.

Since 1957, production has consistently exceeded utilization, and the surplus has gone into stocks; at the end of 1960 these stood at 21 tons, the equivalent of two months' requirements.

Diacetylmorphine

The situation in 1960 remained virtually the same as in 1959. In only five countries was 1 kg or more of diacetylmorphine consumed: United Kingdom (41 kg), Belgium (9 kg), France (4 kg), and Czechoslovakia and Portugal (1 kg each), giving a total of 56 kg. In 1956, on the other hand, it was consumed in 11 countries, to a total of 93 kg.

Three countries produced the drug in 1960: United Kingdom (66 kg), Belgium (10 kg) and Netherlands (2 kg). The total is 1 kg less than that of 1959, but 10 kg higher than the average for the three years 1956-1958. It is nevertheless far below the level recorded before 1956.

Diacetylmorphine is not only consumed as such but is also used for the manufacture of nalorphine, a non-addiction-producing substance; it is also reconverted into morphine - for example, when a government decides to dispose of unneeded stock. A total amount of 34 kg was used for these two purposes in 1960.

Codeine

The consumption of codeine is growing steadily, rising from 77 tons in 1956 to 96 tons in 1960. This trend is observed in 30 out of 46 countries in which more than 10 kg per million inhabitants is consumed annually. The largest increase in absolute figures was in the USSR, the United States, Australia and the German Democratic Republic; if the rate of increase is expressed per capita, Australia comes first, followed by New Zealand and the German Democratic Republic. Codeine is also used - some 3 tons in 1960 - for the manufacture of other narcotic drugs such as dihydrocodeine and hydrocodone.

Production has increased more markedly than utilization: 104 tons in 1960 as against 80 tons in 1956. The surplus is found in the stocks, which at the end of 1960 amounted to 50 tons, representing 6 months' requirements. In 1960 the same four countries as in previous years contributed 60% of the total production: United Kingdom (20 tons), United States (17 tons), USSR (14 tons) and Federal Republic of Germany (11 tons); the remainder was distributed among 20 other countries.

Ethylmorphine

Annual consumption ranged from 6.2 tons to 7.1 tons in the years 1956 to 1960. In 1960, half the total was consumed in two countries alone, France and the USSR. On the other hand, Hungary had the highest per capita figure, followed by France, Finland and Sweden. Production figures varied from 5.5. tons to 8.2 tons a year during the period 1956 to 1960.

Other Derivatives of Opium Alkaloids

At present, 20 other derivatives of opium alkaloids are subject to international control. The movement as regards 12 of them was negligible. Production and consumption are shown below for the period 1956-1960, in so far as they reached 1 kg in at least one country.

(Kilogrammes)

Production

1956

1957

1958

1959

1960

Dihydrocodeine
1 528 1963 2516 2352 2884
Pholcodine
861 948 1215 1353 1565
Hydrocodone
1 011 1301 1432 1258 1041
Oxycodone
397 344 462 520 647
Thebacon
133 140 188 147 150
Benzylmorphine
-
89 102 119 81
Hydromorphone
20 88 94 25 75
Dihydromorphine
49
-
22 49 73
Oxymorphone
-
-
1 8 14
Nicomorphine
-
-
2 3 4
Acetyldihydrocodeine
3 6 6 7 3
Normorphine
-
-
-
3
-

Consumption

1956

1957

1958

1959

1960

Dihydrocodeine
1 351 2001 2370 2078 2454
Pholcodine
651 953 863 1 249 1 507
Hydrocodone
792 1 036 1 053 1 106 820
Oxycodone
371 435 426 453 508
Thebacon
128 130 128 131 130
Hydromorphone
90 89 76 64 86
Benzylmorphine
57 80 56 80 79
Acetyldihydrocodeine.
4 4 8 3 6
Oxymorphone
-
-
-
2 5
Nicomorphine
-
-
1 2 3
Codeine-N-oxide
-
-
-
2
-
Desomorphine
-
1
-
-
-
Metopo
-
1
-
-
-
Dihydromorphine
2
-
-
-
-

Crude Cocaine

In 1960 Peru was the only country producing this raw material, and such production was intended solely for export; it amounted to 449 kg in 1959 and 690 kg in 1960, while exports amounted to 533 kg and 626 kg, respectively.

Cocaine

The steady decrease witnessed since 1955 in the consumption of cocaine shows no signs of abating. The figure for 1960 is 1,257 kg, about two-thirds of that for 1956. This trend is present in 19 out of the 27 countries where at least 1 kg a year is consumed per million inhabitants. The largest decreases in absolute figures occurred in the USSR, Japan, France and the United States.

Over the years 1956 to 1900, production remained below consumption, except in 1960, when it reached 1,372 kg.

Pethidine

After remaining at between 13 and 14 tons over the years 1955 to 1958, annual consumption rose to 14.6 tons in 1959 and 16.2 tons in 1960. This trend reflects variations in the amounts used in the United States, which account for nearly two-thirds of the total. Per capita consumption was also highest in that country, with New Zealand and Denmark following close behind.

The increase in production was less marked, the figures being 14.8 tons in 1957, 13.3 tons in 1958 and 15.1 tons in 1960. The deficit which occurred after 1957 was met from stocks, which at the end of 1960 amounted to 11 tons, or 8 months' requirements.

Trimeperidine

Until 1959, this substance - which is akin to pethidine - was produced and consumed exclusively in the USSR. In 1960 this country exported small amounts, but in none of the importing countries did consumption reach 1 kg. The movement in the USSR was as follows:

(Kilogrammes)

 

Production

Consumption

1957 1 845 1 245
1958 1 078 1 400
1959 592 784
1960 1 223 1 107

Normethadone

The Federal Republic of Germany, which is the main producer, consumer and exporter of this drug, supplied statistics for 1956, and then none until the fourth quarter of 1960. It will therefore be necessary to await the 1961 figures in order to have a complete picture. Sixteen further countries have reported a consumption of at least 1 kg in 1960.

Methadone

Consumption declined from 464 kg in 1956 to 420 kg in 1960, a trend which is noticeable in 6 out of the 9 countries consuming more than 1 kg a year per million inhabitants. The quantity manufactured during those years was lower than the amount consumed.

Racemoramide, Dextromoramide and Levomoramide

During the years 1958 to 1960, for which more or less complete information is available, dextromoramide was produced mostly in the Netherlands, where manufacture called first for the production of racemoramide and then left levomoramide as a useless by-product. Production of racemora-mide in that country amounted to 457 kg in 1958, 1,067 kg in 1959 and 373 kg in 1960. Apart from 6 kg which remained in stock at the end of 1960, the entire production of racemoramide was converted, yielding respectively 147 kg, 375 kg and 120 kg of dextromoramide, and 140 kg, 370 kg and 122 kg of levomoramide. A few kilogrammes of dextromoramide were also produced during those years in the United States (5 kg in 1959 and 4 kg in 1960) and in Italy (3 kg in 1958 and 2 kg in 1959). This drug is in fact consumed in sizeable amounts in only four countries: the Federal Republic of Germany, France, the Netherlands and Belgium.

Other Synthetic Narcotic Drugs

Forty-four other synthetic narcotic drugs are now under international control. While their number is constantly increasing, not even one-half have so far gone beyond the experimental stages, and piminodine and anileridine alone have been consumed in fairly large amounts, but only in one or two countries.