Demand and Supply –
June 26, 2018 – The non-medical use of prescription drugs is becoming a major threat to public health and law enforcement worldwide with opioids causing the most harm and accounting for 76 per cent of deaths where drug use disorders were implicated, according to the latest World Drug Report, released today by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Fentanyl and its analogues remain a problem in North America, while tramadol – an opioid used to treat moderate and moderate-to-severe pain – has become a growing concern in parts of Africa and Asia. Accessibility of fentanyl and tramadol for medical use is vital for treating pain, but traffickers manufacture them illicitly and promote them in illegal markets causing considerable harm to health.
The global seizure of pharmaceutical opioids in 2016 was 87 tons, roughly the same as the quantities of heroin seized that year. Seizures of pharmaceutical opioids – mainly tramadol in West and Central Africa, and North Africa accounted for 87 per cent of the global total in 2016. Countries in Asia, which had previously accounted for more than half of global seizures, reported just 7 per cent of the global total in 2016.