Bangkok (Thailand), 25 June 2010 - UNODC held a press conference today at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand to launch the World Drug Report 2010. The report, presented by Gary Lewis, UNODC Regional Representative for East Asia and the Pacific, shows a shift towards new drugs and new markets.
The findings in the report indicate that drug cultivation is declining in Afghanistan (for opium) and the Andean countries (for coca) and that drug use has stabilized in the developed world. However, there are signs of an increase in drug use in developing countries and in abuse of amphetamine-type stimulants and prescription drugs around the world.
Mr. Lewis underscored the importance of the World Drug Report, explaining that "we face a number of challenges relating to human security: endemic poverty, the spread of nuclear weapons, transnational organized crime and terrorism".
He said that UNODC sees drug production, trafficking and abuse as central in many of those human security challenges. He noted that 22 of the 34 countries that are unlikely to meet the Millennium Development Goals are either emerging from or caught up in conflicts related to the production and trafficking of drugs.
According to Mr. Lewis, "from both the public health perspective and the rule of law perspective, what the United Nations has to share with you today is of some importance".
Mr. Lewis then presented the key findings of the report, paying special attention to East Asia and the Pacific. In addition, he highlighted new areas of concern, such as the expansion of cocaine use in Europe and West Africa, and of heroin use in East Africa
He also spoke of an increase in the consumption of amphetamine-type stimulants: "using our estimates, which combine ranges of numbers, we believe that it will soon be the case that there will be as many users of amphetamine-type stimulants as there are of heroin and cocaine combined".
The presentation also drew attention to the importance of good governance. Mr. Lewis explained to the audience that the rule of law is significantly undermined by people involved in drug trafficking. He said that it was important to "bear in mind that insurgent groups derive much of their revenue from drug trafficking".
He also said that "even if the State is not challenged, transnational organized crime and organized criminal syndicates within a country often use drug money to lure and bribe government officials to make decisions that are not in the interest of human security in that country".
He concluded by stating that UNODC firmly believed that health must remain at the centre of international drug control efforts.
Present at the launch were representatives of the diplomatic community, the media, local and international law enforcement agencies as well as colleagues from non-governmental organizations. Also present was Ms. Rachanikorn Sarasiri, Director of the Thai Foreign Affairs Division of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board.