by Yury Fedotov
Every year, this US$320 billion dollar industry kills up to 200,000 people across the world.
Illicit drugs represent a global challenge to the international community.
We cannot afford to ignore this transnational issue and the impact it has on both developing and developed nations.
But, our actions must be founded on an understanding of the flows and movements of illicit drugs.
On International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking Day, I am, therefore, proud to launch UNODC's World Drug Report 2012.
The World Drug Report is our flagship publication. This year, it is much shorter, more analytical, and more evidenced-based.
According to the 2012 report, some 230 million people or 5 per cent of the world's adult population used illicit drugs at least once a year.
The report also shows that, while consumption of illicit drugs is stable among developed countries, it is rising in developing countries.
Global production of opium has soared and amounted to 7,000 tons in 2011. This is a significant increase compared to the low levels of 2010, when plant disease destroyed around half the crop.
On average, Afghanistan continues to produce around 90 per cent of the world's opiates every year.
Regarding cocaine, the total area under coca bush cultivation in the world fell by 18 per cent between 2007 and 2010, and by 33 per cent in the ten years between 2000 and 2010.
There are also a number of emerging trends. First, the emergence of the use of desomorphine, or Krokodil as they call it.
The drug has replaced a shortage of heroin in parts of Eastern Europe. It has far more deadly health consequences than this drug.
Second, there are increases in the use of new psychoactive substances outside the Drug Control Conventions.
Such substances have the same effects as illicit drugs such as cocaine or ecstasy and are often sold as "bath salts" or "plant food."
As the lead UN organization on the issue of illicit drugs, UNODC is helping to build an integrated response to these transnational issues.
But, if we are to successfully confront these challenges, we must also reduce drug demand based on prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, reintegration and health.
One of our most important challenges is to help countries sustain their development. The recent RIO+ 20 process has shown that the international community remains determined to assist millions of people around the globe.
UNODC will continue to be the lead agency on illicit drugs and transnational organized crime. Our role is simple, we must support problem drug users, while also helping Member States to confront the criminal networks that deal in death and violence.
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