While it is difficult to quantify the global manufacture of amphetamine-type stimulants, the number of dismantled laboratories manufacturing amphetamine-type stimulants, which were mostly manufacturing methamphetamine, continued to rise. Manufacture of methamphetamine in North America expanded once again, with a large increase in the number of methamphetamine laboratories reported dismantled in the United States and Mexico.
Of the total of 144 tons of amphetamine-type stimulants seized globally, half were seized in North America and a quarter in East and South-East Asia. Large quantities of amphetamine seizures continue to be reported in the Middle East, in particular in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Syrian Arab Republic.
Central and South-West Asia are emerging as new markets, with low levels of methamphetamine seizures and use being reported by two countries in those subregions. South-West Asia has also emerged as a significant production area for methamphetamine destined for East and South-East Asia. Production in West and Central Africa is also emerging.
Seizures of "ecstasy" increased in 2012, with major quantities of "ecstasy" being seized in East and South-East Asia, followed by Europe (South-Eastern and Western and Central Europe), which together accounted for over 80 per cent of global seizures of "ecstasy".
The misuse of prescription stimulants or medications for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is not uncommon, although only a few countries report any prevalence of misuse among the general and youth population. Although misuse of prescription stimulants in other regions is not negligible, such abuse is reported mainly by countries in North and South America.
While the Internet continues to be used as a means of drug trafficking and illicit trade in precursor chemicals, use of the so-called "dark net" has been growing. The "dark net" constitutes a virtual marketplace, which is inaccessible by web search, and where it is difficult for law enforcement authorities to identify website owners and users, as their identities remain hidden by means of sophisticated concealment methods. That makes the "dark net" a safe haven for buyers and sellers of illicit drugs, who trade principally in a digital currency (Bitcoin).
While the overall proportion of drug transactions that take place in the "dark net" is unclear, the value of transactions, as well as the range of drugs available, appears to be growing. The dismantling of one prominent "dark net" site, the "Silk Road", uncovered that the site had approximately $1.2 billion worth of total revenue from two to five years of operations. There is evidence of a niche market on the "dark net" for new psychoactive substancesas well as for high-quality cannabis, heroin, methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and cocaine.
Finally, the proliferation of new psychoactive substances continues to pose a challenge, with the number of new psychoactive substances (348 such substances in December 2013, up from 251 in July 2012) clearly exceeding the number of psychoactive substances controlled at the international level (234 substances).