Amphetamine-type stimulants

The global market for synthetic drugs continues to be dominated by methamphetamine. The increasingly diversified market for methamphetamine is expanding in East and South-East Asia, where it accounts for a large share of the people receiving treatment for drug use in a number of countries, and use of crystalline methamphetamine is increasing in parts of North America and Europe. Surging seizures since 2009 also point to a rapid expansion in the global ATS market, with the total quantity of seized ATS almost doubling to reach over 144 tons in 2011 and 2012, the highest level since the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) began systematic monitoring, and remaining at a comparatively high level in 2013.
According to seizure data, the global "ecstasy" market is smaller than the global market for amphetamine and methamphetamine and remains confined to a few regions. East and South-East Asia and Oceania may be emerging as a driver of the global market for "ecstasy", while the market seems to be on the decline in the Americas, where "ecstasy" seizures dropped by 81 per cent between 2009 and 2012. The largest "ecstasy" markets continue to be East and South-East Asia and Oceania, although seizures of "ecstasy" declined there in 2013.

New psychoactive substances

The "ecstasy" market has been on the decline in several European countries for some time, with mephedrone and other NPS perhaps serving as a substitute. The use of mephedrone and synthetic cannabinoids may have declined in some markets in recent years, but a growing number of countries have reported a wider range of emerging NPS, as well as worrying developments such as the injecting use of NPS. There continue to be limited data on recent developments in injecting drug use and polydrug use involving NPS; these particular forms of drug use could pose a serious challenge for providers of treatment for drug use and health-care providers.
The sheer number, diversity and transient nature of NPS currently on the market partly explain why there are still only limited data available on the prevalence of use of many NPS. Those difficulties also explain why both the regulation of NPS and the capacity to address health problems related to NPS continue to be challenging. Different countries report that NPS continue to proliferate in the marketplace, in terms of both quantity and diversity. By December 2014, a total of 541 NPS had been reported by 95 countries and territories to the UNODC early warning advisory. Synthetic cannabinoids continued to account for the majority of NPS reported in 2014 (39 per cent); they were followed by phenethylamines (18 per cent) and synthetic cathinones (15 per cent). The growing number of NPS available worldwide indicates that the market for synthetic drugs is becoming even more diversified.

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