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India home to largest number of opiate users: UN

  • Published
    30th Jun, 2022

According to the World Drug Report 2022, India has the most number of opiate users in the world.


Key Findings of the report:

  • The report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has flagged 2020 seizures in India:
    • 5.2 tonne opium (fourth-highest globally)
    • 0.7 tonne morphine (third-highest)
    • 3.8 tons heroin (fifth-highest)
  • India is one of the world’s single-largest opiate markets in terms of users and would likely be vulnerable to increased supply.
  • There are already signs that an intensification of trafficking in opiates originating in Afghanistan may be taking place eastwards, in addition to southwards and westwards along the traditional Balkan route.
  • The number of drug users increased 26 per cent globally over the last decade to 284 million people (15-64 years).
  • An estimated 11.2 million injected drugs. Half of whom lived with hepatitis C, 1.4 million with HIV and 1.2 million with both.
  • Globally, 209 million people consumed cannabis, 61 million use opiods, 34 million use amphetamines, 21 million use cocaine and 20 million use ecstasies.
  • In Africa and South and Central America, most people were treated for cannabis abuse while opium addiction was rampant in south-eastern Europe and central Asia.
  • Cocaine, methamphetamine and opium have all recorded an upward trend.
  • Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, global manufacturing of cocaine grew 11 per cent in 2020 to 1,982 tonnes while seizures reached a record 1,424 tonnes.

World Drug Report:

  • The report was released by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Vienna.
  • The World Drug Report 2022 provides an in-depth analysis of global drug markets.
  • It examines the nexus between drugs and the environment within the bigger picture of the Sustainable Development Goals, climate change and environmental sustainability.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

  • It was established in 1997 and was named as a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in 2002.
  • It acts as the Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention by combining the United Nations International Drug Control Program (UNDCP) and the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Division of the United Nations Office at Vienna.

Related International Initiatives

  • International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is celebrated every year on 26th June.
  • Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961.
  • The Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 1971.
  • The United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988.
    • India is a signatory to all three and has enacted the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985.


Vulnerability of India

  • India is vulnerable to the trafficking of narcotics as it is sandwiched between the 'Golden Crescent' and the 'Golden Triangle', the major opium production regions in the world.
  • The Golden Crescent region of the South comprises Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. The Golden Triangle is the area where the borders of Thailand, and meet at the confluence of the Ruak and Mekong rivers.
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