World Drug Report 2017 presented in Tashkent
On 22 June, the UNODC regional office hosted a presentation of the 2017 World Drug Report, which also offered information about illicit drug trafficking and countermeasures taken by Uzbekistan’s law enforcement. The report is released annually on the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, marked on 26 June.
UNODC Regional Representative Ashita Mittal presented the main points and some basic statistical data, including for Central Asia. This year, to celebrate 20 years since its inception, the World Drug Report 2017 is presented in a new five-booklet format designed to improve reader friendliness while maintaining the wealth of information contained within:
- Executive Summary: Conclusions and Policy Implications
- Global Overview of Drug Supply and Demand
- Market Analysis of Plant-Based Drugs
- The Drug Problem and Organized Crime, Illicit Financial Flows, Corruption and Terrorism
Mittal said that in 2015 around 225 million people worldwide used drugs at least once. Of these, around 29.5 million people – or 0.6 per cent of the global adult population – were engaged in problematic use and suffered from drug use disorders. According to the report, “opioids were the most harmful drug type and accounted for 70 percent of the negative health impact associated with drug use disorders worldwide.”
The report also focuses on the nexus between illicit drug trafficking and organized crime, illicit financial flows, corruption and terrorism.
It also reveals that drug use, supply, trafficking routes and the substances themselves continue to shift and diversify at alarming speed.
Speaking at the gathering, the Director of the National Information and Analysis Center for Drug Control under the Cabinet of Ministers of Uzbekistan, Ahmed Mansurov, said Afghanistan remains the leading producer of opiates globally and the flow of Afghan-made drugs through transit countries in on the rise. Terrorist activity and emerging alternative routes for Afghan-made drugs, he said, point to a strong link. More than ever, modern criminal groups now use the so-called ‘shady Internet’ for drug trafficking purposes.
According to Mansurov, Uzbekistan has been putting a lot of effort into preventing drug trafficking through blocking channels through which drugs are delivered into the country and transit routes lying through the country as well as eliminating organized crime groups. As a result, over the past ten years, law enforcement has uncovered over 90,000 crimes related to illicit drug trafficking. Over this period, law enforcement has seized about 35 tons of illicit drugs. Mansurov also noted a 41-percent increase from 2015 in the amount of drugs seized as a result of the efforts, including the operation ‘Black Poppy.’ Mansurov also said that the Interagency Group drafted a law on amendments to particular legislative acts of Uzbekistan in an effort to counter the spread of new psychoactive substances.
Over the past 20 years, Uzbekistan has been working on enhancing the material and technical resources and personnel of law enforcement and other bodies, including under international cooperation to the tune of over $60 million.
Mansurov also spoke about joint projects with UNODC in Uzbekistan as well as destruction of seized drugs on the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.