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World Drug Report 2011

Originally published

World Drug Report 2011: Poppy cultivation in Afghanistan remained stable, the global trend driven by increases in Myanmar

Kabul 23 June 2011 - Global opium poppy cultivation reached some 195,700 hectares (ha) in 2010, a small increase over 2009, shows the flagship report launched today at United Nations Headquarters by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC); Joseph Deiss, President of the General Assembly; Gil Kerlikowske, Director, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy; and Viktor Ivanov, Director of Russia's Federal Service for Drug Control.

Opium production declined, however, by 38 per cent to 4,860 tons due to a blight that wiped out much of the opium harvest in Afghanistan in 2010. Nonetheless, the bulk of opium production still took place in Afghanistan (3,600 tons or 74 per cent of the global total). While cultivation in Afghanistan remained stable, the global trend was mainly driven by increases in Myanmar, where cultivation rose by some 20 per cent from 2009. Consequently, opium production in Myanmar increased from 5 per cent of global production in 2007 to 12 per cent in 2010. Global opium production declined by 45 per cent between 2007 and 2010, particularly as a result of opium blight in 2010 in Afghanistan, but this trend is unlikely to continue.

“Though the area under poppy cultivation may have remained stable this year, our preliminary findings indicate that Afghan opium production will probably rebound to high levels in 2011”, warned Mr. Fedotov.

Cannabis remains by far the most widely produced and consumed illicit substance globally, although data on cannabis are limited. In 2009, between 2.8 per cent and 4.5 per cent of the world population aged 15-64 – between 125 and 203 million people – had used cannabis at least once in the past year.

Mr. Fedotov stressed the principle of ‘shared responsibility’ and the need to build national, regional and international efforts in a comprehensive strategy on the cultivation, production and trafficking of drugs. UNODC has spearheaded a number of regional mechanisms to confront the problem of Afghan opium, including the Paris Pact, the Triangular Initiative and the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre. These approaches could be models for other regions, such as South-East Asia or Central America, he said.

“Drugs cause some 200,000 deaths a year. Since people with serious drug problems provide the bulk of drug demand, treating this problem is one of the best ways of shrinking the market,” he said.

In 2009, Member States reaffirmed the validity of the international drug control regime during the High-Level Segment of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. “This year is the 50th anniversary of the keystone of the international drug control system: the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. Its provisions remain sound and highly relevant, as does its central focus on the protection of health”, said Mr. Fedotov.

Read the World Drug Report 2011 (pdf)

For further information please contact:

In Vienna:
Alun Jones, Chief of Communications and Advocacy: UNODC T: (+43-1) 26060-5726 | M: (+43-699) 1459-5726 | E: alun.jones {at}

In Kabul:
Jelena Bjelica, External Relations: UNODC M: 0796 52 857 | E: