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June, 2021 – UNODC: Increasing number of new psychoactive substances in poorer countries

VIENNA, Austria – June 2021: The new World Drug Report 2021, launched on 24th of June 2021, highlights that the availability of new psychoactive substances (NPS) may be spreading to poorer regions, whereas the number of emerging NPS is falling in high-income countries. In total, the number of NPS emerging on the global market fell from 163 in 2013 to 71 in 2019. This reflects trends in subregions such as North America and Western and Central Europe, where the main markets for NPS first emerged a decade ago. However, the NPS problem is now spreading to poorer regions, where control systems may be weaker. For example, seizures of synthetic NPS in Africa rose from less than 1 kg in 2015 to 828 kg in 2019. A similar trend was noted in Central and South America, with seizures rising from 60 kg to 320 kg over the same period.


Source: UNODC, World Drug Report 2021.

The report concludes that there is much to learn from the positive trend of NPS containment, stressing elements such as increased international cooperation, best practice exchange on legislative, law enforcement, forensic and health-related efforts as well as early warning mechanisms, and suggests that responses that have helped to contain the supply of NPS and reduce negative health consequences could be expanded to lower-income countries, some of which are increasingly vulnerable to the emergence of NPS.


For more information please see:

UNODC, World Drug Report 2021 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.21.XI.8).

Global SMART Update 25: Regional diversity and the impact of scheduling on NPS trends


***The Spanish translation of this news item is made possible thanks to a collaboration with OAS/CICAD, a partner of the UNODC EWA.***

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