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June 2017 – UNODC World Drug Report 2017: Expanding market for synthetic drugs

VIENNA, Austria – June 2017: Unlike the manufacture of heroin and cocaine, the manufacture of synthetic drugs is not geographically constrained, as the process does not involve the extraction of active constituents from plants that have to be cultivated in certain conditions for them to grow. Yet any analysis of the synthetic drugs market is complicated by the fact that information on synthetic drug manufacture is limited, which prevents the estimation of the volume of such drugs being manufactured worldwide.

Nevertheless, data on seizures and use suggest that the supply of synthetic drugs is expanding. An increasing number of countries are reporting seizures of synthetic new psychoactive substances (NPS), with over 20 tons seized in 2015. Seizures of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) doubled in the five years prior to 2015, to reach 191 tons in 2015.

Figure 1. Annual amounts of synthetic new psychoactive substances seized globally, 2010-2015


Source: UNODC, responses to annual report questionnaire, 2010-2015.

Note: Figures exclude plant-based NPS and ketamine.

For more information, please see:

UNODC “World Drug Report 2017


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