Fall in global opium production won’t check heroin epidemic: UN

Use of heroin in the United States has increased three times from 2007 to 2014, according to a report by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The growth in numbers shows how the country is facing an epidemic of heroin, which is often abused as a cheaper alternative to addictive opioids.

According to a recent report by the United Nations (UN), the global opium production dipped by 40 percent in 2015, but this won’t have much impact on the heroin epidemic. Heroin, which is obtained from opium, is one of the most abused narcotics that kills the most people worldwide.

“Heroin continues to be the drug that kills the most people and this resurgence must be addressed urgently,” said Yury Fedotov, head of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in the report.

Opium production dipped by 38% in Afghanistan in 2015

Afghanistan is the world’s largest producer of opium and accounts for 70 percent of the world supply. Poor harvest in the country in 2015 resulted in a 38 percent dip in the production to reach 4,770 tons in 2015, the report said.

However, the shortage of opium is unlikely to affect the production of heroin because drug peddlers build up massive stockpiles as a reserve. A poor harvest of opium in Afghanistan may not majorly impact the global production of heroin. The market is still inundated with heroin, the report said.

“There’s no reason to think that heroin production in Afghanistan is over. There’s still a lot of heroin in the market,” lead author of the report Angela Me told the AFP.

The U.N. report said that a record opium production in Afghanistan over the last couple of years led to a spike in cheaper heroin supply to the U.S. It explains the heroin-related deaths in the country which reached the highest level in a decade. It sprang almost to double, from 5,925 in 2012 to 10,800 in 2014. The heroin epidemic in the United States is still not showing any sign of abatement. Apart from the U.S., supply to other countries, like Italy and France, has also spiraled in the recent past.

‘Cocaine market shrinking’

The report also added that the global cocaine market is shrinking, although market leader Columbia has reported record production last year. However, it has still not managed to reach the peak level of production two decades ago. The good thing is that the rise in cocaine production in the country has not resulted in voluminous cocaine entering the market, and the consumption in the U.S. and the world has shrunk considerably.

New drugs on the block

The report raised concern over the fact that in a bid to circumvent existing drug laws, traffickers are coming up with newer narcotics developed from natural or synthetic substances which are deluging the market. A total of 644 new substances have been reported since 2008. These spurious drugs are dangerous because it is usually difficult to monitor their potentially harmful effects. These drugs also disappear as quickly as they come up because of the dynamism of the market and the changing laws.

The report said that cannabis is the most commonly used drug in the world at the moment, with an estimated 183 million users globally.

Recovery roadmap

Besides stringent laws to curb the spread of heroin epidemic by agencies, it is also the responsibility of individuals to abstain from using any substance. And if somebody is already an addict, seeking treatment at the earliest is the only solution. Delaying treatment would only worsen matters, eliciting more complicated withdrawal symptoms and treatment.

If a loved one is grappling with an addiction, be it to prescription drugs or any other substance, seek immediate help by contacting the California Prescription Abuse Helpline. You may call at our 24/7 helpline number 855–738–2770 to know about one of the best California drug treatment centers. Our experts can help you with the most relevant information on prescription drug rehab centers in California or drug rehabs in California.

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