Work of the Permanent Central Opium Board in 1962

Sections

TABLE I
TABLE II
Tribute to Mr. Herbert L. May

Details

Pages: 45 to 49
Creation Date: 1963/01/01

Work of the Permanent Central Opium Board in 1962

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 1962 (document E/OB/18) presents an over-all picture of the licit movement of narcotics throughout the world in 1961 and in the four preceding years, 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 that report entitled "Trends in the licit movement of narcotic drugs" follow.

Raw Opium

Opium production rose from 714 tons in 1957 to 1,498 tons in 1960, then fell to 1,244 tons in 1961. Thus the quantity doubled between 1957 and 1960, in which year it reached the highest figure since 1946.

During the five years 1952-1956 production at first increased from 1,070 to 1,295 tons and then in 1954 fell to about 800 tons, at which level it remained for the next two years. The peaks during these last two five-year periods were recorded in 1953 and 1960, and the lowest point was in 1957. This was mainly due to the fact that there were large production surpluses in 1951, 1952 and 1953, and these had to be gradually absorbed. A situation similar to that prevailing in these three years recurred in 1960 and 1961, and it is therefore possible that the downward trend which began in 1961 may continue.

From 1952 to 1956 production in India represented 45 per cent of the total, while that in Turkey amounted to 29 per cent and in the USSR to 11 per cent, whereas for the next five years these proportions were respectively 68 per cent, 17 per cent and 12 per cent. Indian production is therefore becoming more and more important and in 1961 it amounted to 73 per cent of the total, as against 14 per cent for Turkey and 10 per cent for the USSR. The other countries where opium is now licitly produced are Yugoslavia, Pakistan, Japan, Bulgaria and Burma. If we exclude the last-named country, of which neither the production nor its utilization has ever beendeclared, it will be seen from the foregoing percentages that the share of producing countries other than India, Turkey and the USSR is negligible.

Opium is now used almost exclusively for the manufacture of morphine, most of which is then converted into codeine. During the five years 1957 to 1961 the quantity of opium thus used varied between 848 and 923 tons. In addition, about 30 tons of opium are still consumed annually for medical purposes, in the form of preparations. Finally, about 15 tons are used for quasi-medical purposes in Pakistan. Strictly non-medical consumption is now licit only in the Shan State in Burma, but no figures have been provided. Elsewhere this consumption amounted to 23 tons in 1951 and to 25 tons in 1947; to judge the extent of the decrease it is necessary to go back to 1937, when consumption was 368 tons.

Between 1954 and 1958 production was below requirements, and world stocks at the end of that period were sufficient only for eleven months. Since 1960 production has been in excess of utilization, so that stocks at the end of 1961 totalled 1,470 tons and, on the basis of that year's requirements, were sufficient for twenty months - a level unattained since 1955, but not so high as to give cause for concern.

Poppy Straw

Under the terms of the conventions at present in force, the statistics which the Contracting Parties are required to furnish to the Board concerning poppy straw relate only to the quantities used in the manufacture of morphine and to the amount of morphine extracted. The quantities of straw used for this purpose, which had increased considerably in 1960, rose further in 1961 to reach a record of 19,666 tons, or nearly double the 1957 figure. Thus in 1961 28 per cent of the total morphine production was derived from this raw material, the highest proportion ever reached: the proportion was 25 per cent in 1960 and 16 per cent in 1957. It should be mentioned, however, that in 1953 it reached the high figure of 26 per cent.

As in earlier years, the increases are due, not to the introduction of this method of manufacture into new45 countries, but to its expansion in the countries which already used it, in particular Czechoslovakia, the Netherlands and Poland.

Coca leaves

During the last five-year period, 1957 was the only year for which the Board received statistics from all the countries which, to its knowledge, are licit producers of coca leaves. In that year the declared production reached 10,164 tons in Peru, 2,750 tons in Bolivia, 140 tons in Colombia, 17 tons in Indonesia and 1 ton in China (Taiwan). The figures for Peru, Colombia and Indonesia for the succeeding years show a downward trend; those for Bolivia are incomplete and in no way comparable. In China (Taiwan), production has ceased.

Nearly all the coca leaves harvested are consumed for non-medical purposes, that is to say, they are chewed by the inhabitants of the Andean region. The statistics supplied to the Board purport to show that the following quantities were used during the last five years:

 

1957

1958

1959

1960

1961

Peru
9,954 9,203 8,789 8,793 8,473
Bolivia
2,590
2,495*
2,104*
3,495*
2,897*
Argentina
152 80 115 86 177
Colombia
32 29 28 26 24

Incomplete.

Utilization for medical purposes represents less than 3 per cent of the quantities harvested. The complete figures at the Board's disposal show that although such utilization increased between 1958 and 1961 from 230 to 280 tons, it is still well below the average (451 tons) during the years 1952 to 1956.

Cannabis

It will be remembered that in 1952 the World Health Organization expressed the opinion that cannabis preparations were practically obsolete and that their medicinal use was no longer justified. At that time 34 countries or territories were consuming a total of 1,048 kg. of cannabis in this form. In 1957 there were still 21 such countries and territories consuming a total of 559 kg., while by 1961 the figures had fallen to 13 countries or territories and 423 kg.

Consumption in India, where cannabis is used in indigenous medicine, represented a third of the total in 1952, a quarter in 1957 and one-half in 1961.

Morphine

The production of morphine remained at about 110 tons a year from 1957 to 1959; it rose to 120 tons in 1960, but declined to 116 tons in 1961.

Between 1947 and 1961 production increased by more than 10 tons in the USSR, by 5 to 10 tons in Hungary, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, and by 3 to 5 tons in Japan, Poland, Czechoslovakia and France. The only appreciable decreases were in Switzerland and the United States.

Over 90 per cent of the morphine produced is later converted into other drugs, mainly codeine.

As for the consumption of morphine proper, the slow decline continues. From 6.1 tons in 1947 it fell to 4.2 tons in 1957 and to 3.7 tons in 1961.

Codeine

The consumption of codeine rose from 43 tons in 1949 to 52 tons in 1950, then to 68 tons in 1953, 90 tons in 1957, 96 tons in 1960, and 97 tons in 1961.

During the years 1957 to 1961 annual consumption increased in fifty-three of the eighty-three countries in which it amounted to at least 1 kg., and decreased in twenty-one of them.

From 1957 to 1959 the annual production of codeine varied between 97 and 100 tons; it reached 104 tons in 1960 and 105 tons in 1961. Between 1957 and 1961 the increase in the countries now producing at least one ton was proportionately greatest in Romania, followed by Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic and Poland. Much the largest producers, however, in 1961, as in previous years, were the United Kingdom (20.4 tons), the United States (19.1 tons), the USSR (15 tons) and the Federal Republic of Germany (10.5 tons). The output of these countries, which accounts for 60 per cent of the total, has increased only in the USSR and the United Kingdom.

Since 1957 manufacture has exceeded consumption by 7 to 11 tons every year. This has resulted in an increase in stocks, which at the end of 1961 were equivalent to 7 months' requirements.

Ethylmorphine

Ethylmorphine is, with codeine, the most widely used of the morphine derivatives, though it is used much less, the proportion being seventeen to one in favour of codeine.

From 1957 to 1960 annual consumption was between 6.5 and 7.1 tons. In 1961 it fell to 5.6 tons owing to a fall from 1.5 to 0.5 tons in consumption in the USSR.

From 1957 to 1959 there was excess production of 0.3 to 1.3 tons every year; in 1960 and 1961 production fell to the level of consumption. At the end of 1961 stocks were equivalent to slightly less than a year's requirements.

Work of the Permanent Central Opium Board in 1962 .

Diacetylmorphine

  1. If diacetylmorphine deserves a special mention in this chapter it is not because of the quantities manufactured and consumed, which in 1961 did not exceed 79 and 52 kg. respectively, but to show the results of the measures taken to put an end to its use: in 1961 this drug was no longer manufactured except in the United Kingdom (69 kg.), Belgium (5 kg.) and France (5 kg.). In these three countries consumption amounted respectively to 40 kg., 7 kg. and 3 kg. Two other countries, Paraguay and Portugal, consumed a kilogramme each. Though there may still be some consumption in other countries, it has not reached 1 kg. in any of them.

Diacetylmorphine is also converted into a non-addiction-producing substance, nalorphine, and 14 of the 69 kg. produced in the United Kingdom in 1961 were used for that purpose.

Other derivatives of opium alkaloids

In addition to the derivatives considered in the preceding paragraphs, there are 21 others which are subject to international control, but the movement of 13 of them is negligible. Figures of production and consumetion for the years 1957-1961, where these reached 1 kg. in a least one country, are shown in table I.

TABLE I

Production

1957

1958

1959

1960

1961

Dihydrocodeine
1,963 2,516 2,352 2,884 3,002
Pholcodine
948 1,215 1,353 1,565 1,612
Hydrocodone
1,301 1,432 1,258 1,041 765
Oxycodone
344 462 520 647 475
Benzylmorphine
89 102 119 81 117
Hydromorphone
88 94 25 75 91
Thebacon
140 188 147 150 58
Dihydromorphine
-
22 49 73 27
Acetyldihydrocodeine
6 6 7 3 11
Nicomorphine
-
2 3 4 7
Hydromorphinol *
        5
Oxymorphone
-
1 8 14 3
Normorphine
-
-
3
-
-

Consumption

1957

1958

1959

1960

1961

Dihydrocodeine
2,001 2,370 2,078 2,457 2.685
Pholcodine
953 863 1,249 1,507 1,557
Hydrocodone
1,036 1,053 1,106 825 817
Oxycodone
435 426 453 508 470
Thebacon
130 128 131 130 111
Benzylmorphine
80 56 80 79 83
Hydromorphone
89 76 64 86 64
Acetyldihydrocodeine
4 8 3 6 10
Nicomorphine
-
1 2 3 3
Oxymorphone
-
-
2 5 2
Codeine-N-oxide
-
-
2
-
-
Desomorphine
1
-
-
-
-
Metopon
1
-
 
-
-

Under control since December 1960.

Cocaine

Except for the rise which took place between 1952 and 1954, the consumption of cocaine has fallen continually since 1947; first it felt from 2.3 to 1.6 tons between 1947 and 1951, then from to 1.1 tons between 1954 and 1961, thus decreasing by half during these 14 years. Though the decrease is general it has been greatest in the United States, France and the United Kingdom.

While consumption shows a definite trend, this is not true of manufacture, the figures for which vary from year to year. The extremes recorded during the years 1947 to 1951 were 2 tons and 1.3 tons, followed by 2.6 and 1.7 tons between 1952 and 1956 and 1.4 and 0.9 tons between 1957 and 1961. Similar fluctuations occurred in most of the producing countries.

Pethidine

The consumption of pethidine, which had increased by 1 ton in 1959, rose a further ton and a half in 1960 reaching a maximum of 16.2 tons, and then fell to 12.8 tons in 1961. Since 1952, during which period the Board has had more or less complete statistics for this drug, its consumption has decreased only once, and then by only a quarter of a ton. From 1952 to 1954 it remained between 10 and 11 tons a year, and from 1955 to 1958 between 13 and 14 tons. All these variations were largely influenced by consumption in the United States, which alone accounts for more than half the total.

Manufacturers had apparently counted on an increase in the use of pethidine, for production exceeded consumption during the period 1952-1957 and, as a result, stocks accumulated to the extent of one year's requirements. Between 1958 and 1960 the situation was reversed and production, though it moved parallel to consumption, remained below it. The exceptional fall in consumption in 1961 was probably unexpected, since production continued to increase, reaching a maximum of 16.5 tons. Again the United States share accounts for more than half of this figure. The increase in production in recent years, however, is mainly due to the Netherlands and the Federal Republic of Germany, not to the United States.

Trimeperidine

This drug was placed under international control in 1957; it is manufactured only in the USSR, which exported only 1? kg. in 1960 and 5 kg. in 1961. Thus consumption of' trimeperidine is confined almost entirely to that country.

The figures for the USSR were as follows:

 

Production

Consumption

1957 1,845 1,245
1958 1,078 1,400
1959 592 784
1960 1,223 1,107
1961 903 898

Normethadone

The Board has complete figures for the production of this drug for 1956 and 1961 only: 1,596 and 694 kg. respectively. For consumption, the Board has complete figures for 1961 only, when the total was 375 kg. The fall in production is probably a logical consequence of the fact that the drug was placed under control in October 1960 by the Federal Republic of Germany, which is both the principal manufacturer (1,571 kg. in 1956 and 603 kg. in 1961) and the principal consumer (about 1,200 kg. in 1956, and 252 kg. in 1961).

Methadone

Consumption of methadone, which reached a maximum of 570 kg. in 1954, has since decreased. This trend was apparent in 17 of the 20 countries in which annual consumption has reached 1 kg. at least once; in ten countries it remained stationary, leaving only two countries in which it increased. These variations resulted in a fall of 212 kg. between 1954 and 1961, which brought the total down to 358 kg. in the latter year. Between 1954 and 1961 production also decreased by 233 kg., the totals for those two years being 608 and 375 kg. respectively.

Racemoramide, dextromoramide and levomoramide

Racemoramide and dextromoramide were placed under international control in 1957 and levomoramide in 1958. In 1961 the Netherlands was the only country producing them. In that year, 335 kg. of racemoramide were manufactured and 342 kg. were used to produce 138 kg. of dextromoramide, leaving 115 kg. of levomoramide as a by-product. The last two figures, which are close to those for 1960 and 1958, are only a third of the figures for 1959. Before 1961 small quantities of dextromoramide were also manufactured 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).

Only dextromoramide is consumed. So far no use is known for levomoramide, of which there were 911 kg. in stock at the end of 1961. The quantities of dextromoramide consumed in the years 1958 to 1961 were as follows:

1958

1959

1960

1961

135 168 189 138

In 1961 this drug was consumed in appreciable quantities only in France (62 kg.), the Federal Republic of Germany (17 kg.), Belgium (15 kg.) and Argentina (11 kg.).

Other synthetic narcotic drugs

At present 49 other synthetic narcotic drugs are subject to international control, but only 9 of them were consumed or produced in quantities exceeding 10 kg. in 1961.

TABLE II

Production

1957

1958

1959

1960

1961

Piminodine
         
(Dec. 1959)
    15 368 296
Diphenoxylate
         
(May 1960)
      37 135
Dipipanone
         
(Nov. 1954)
-
42 65 122 102
Ketobemidone
         
(March 1951)
62 66 79 34 101
Phenadoxone
         
(March 1951)
14 31 11 8 18
Diethylthiambutene
         
(Dec. 1955)
10 4 4 12 13
Anileridine
         
(Dec. 1956)
123 717 657 473 9
Levorphanol
         
(April 1951)
55 2 7 18 5
Phenoperidine
         
(Dec. 1960)
        2
Alphaprodine
         
(March 1951)
55 54 44 45
-
Phenazocine
         
(May 1959)
    12 5
-
Metazocine
         
(Dec. 1959)
    10
-
-
Etoxeridine
         
(Dec. 1957)
  21
-
-
-
Dioxaphetyl butyrate
         
(Dec. 1955)
3
-
-
-
-

Consumption

1957

1958

1959

1960

1961

Anileridine
45 (1) 455 (2) 417 (2) 283 (2) 486 (2)
Diphenoxylate
88 (2)        
Ketobemidone
78 (8) 60 (7) 74 (7) 72 (7) 71 (7)
Dipipanone
-
4 (2) 45 (3) 70 (4) 64 (4)
Alphaprodine
41 (2) 42 (2) 41 (2) 38 (2) 35 (2)
Piminodine
    1 (1) 294 (1) 29 (2)
Phenadoxone
23 (2) 19 (2) 17 (2) 13 (1) 12 (1)
Levorphanol
20 (5) 11 (3) 12 (3) 10 (3) 11 (3)
Diethylthiambutene
5 (1) 5 (1) 6 (1) 7 (2) 8 (2)
Properidine
         
(Nov. 1954)
4 (2) 6 (2) 5 (1) 12 (2) 2 (1)
Phenazocine
    5 (1) 1 (1) 2 (1)
Etoxeridine
  3 (1) 2 (1) 1 (1) 1 (1)
Dimethylthiambutene
         
(Nov. 1953)
2 (1) 1(1) 1 (1) 1 (1) 1 (1)
Isomethadone
         
(March 1951)
-
-
-
3 (1)
-
Racemorphan
         
(April 1951)
-
-
4 (1)
-
-
Dioxaphetyl butyrate
1 (1)
-
-
-
-

Work of the Permanent Central Opium Board in 1962 49The production and consumption of each of these drugs are shown in table II if they reached a figure of 1 kg. in at least one country in one year. The dates at which these drugs were placed under control are shown in parentheses after the name: the figure for consumption is followed by the number (in parentheses) of consuming countries.

Tribute to Mr. Herbert L. May

The value of continuity in the membership of the Board has been well exemplified in Mr. Herbert L. May, who was appointed to the Board when it was first createdin 1928 and to whom the present members of the Board now regretfully bid farewell. Throughout his virtually unbroken attendance at no fewer than eighty sessions of the Board - a remarkable record of devoted and disinterested public service which in all probability will never be equalled in this field - he has done much to ensure faithful adherence to the principles on which the Board was originally founded. In paying warm and grateful tribute to the man and his work, his colleagues express the hope that the fine tradition he has established will be a guiding light to future members of the Board for many years to come.