Tag Archives: illicit drugs

CIA Factbook: Afghanistan is world’s largest producer of opium and the US is largest consumer of cocaine

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Afghanistan is world’s largest producer of opium while the United States of America is the world’s largest consumer of cocaine and a major consumer of ecstasy and Mexican methamphetamine, besides the US is also a money-laundering center.

This information is derived from the American Central Intelligence Agency’s most popular publication — The World Factbook.

Presenting the global scenario visi-a-vis illicit drugs, the CIA document, which falls short of giving the latest data, states that worldwide coca leaf cultivation in 2013 amounted to about 165,000 hectares, assuming a stable crop in Bolivia; Colombia produced slightly less than half of the worldwide crop, followed by Peru and Bolivia; potential pure cocaine production increased 7% to 640 metric tons in 2013; Colombia conducts an aggressive coca eradication campaign, Peru has increased its eradication efforts, but remains hesitant to eradicate coca in key growing areas, it has been pointed out.

In terms of opiates, the CIA Factbook goes on to state that worldwide illicit opium poppy cultivation increased in 2013, with potential opium production reaching 6,800 metric tons.

Afghanistan is world’s primary opium producer, accounting for 82% of the global supply; Southeast Asia was responsible for 12% of global opium; Pakistan produced 3% of global opium; Latin America produced 4% of global opium, and most was refined into heroin destined for the US market (2015).

What the CIA Factbook says about some countries

Afghanistan

world’s largest producer of opium; poppy cultivation increased 7 percent, to a record 211,000 hectares in 2014 from 198,000 hectares in 2013, while eradication dropped sharply; relatively low opium yields due to poor weather kept potential opium production – 6,300 metric tons – below the record set in 2007; the Taliban and other antigovernment groups participate in and profit from the opiate trade, which is a key source of revenue for the Taliban inside Afghanistan; widespread corruption and instability impede counterdrug efforts; most of the heroin consumed in Europe and Eurasia is derived from Afghan opium; Afghanistan is also struggling to respond to a burgeoning domestic opiate addiction problem; vulnerable to drug money laundering through informal financial networks; illicit cultivation of cannabis and regional source of hashish.

Australia

Tasmania is one of the world’s major suppliers of licit opiate products; government maintains strict controls over areas of opium poppy cultivation and output of poppy straw concentrate; major consumer of cocaine and amphetamines.

Hong Kong

Despite strenuous law enforcement efforts, faces difficult challenges in controlling transit of heroin and methamphetamine to regional and world markets; modern banking system provides conduit for money laundering; rising indigenous use of synthetic drugs, especially among young people.

India

World’s largest producer of licit opium for the pharmaceutical trade, but an undetermined quantity of opium is diverted to illicit international drug markets; transit point for illicit narcotics produced in neighboring countries and throughout Southwest Asia; illicit producer of methaqualone; vulnerable to narcotics money laundering through the hawala system; licit ketamine and precursor production.

Italy

Important gateway for and consumer of Latin American cocaine and Southwest Asian heroin entering the European market; money laundering by organized crime and from smuggling.

Pakistan

Significant transit area for Afghan drugs, including heroin, opium, morphine, and hashish, bound for Iran, Western markets, the Gulf States, Africa, and Asia; financial crimes related to drug trafficking, terrorism, corruption, and smuggling remain problems; opium poppy cultivation estimated to be 2,300 hectares in 2007 with 600 of those hectares eradicated; federal and provincial authorities continue to conduct anti-poppy campaigns that utilizes forced eradication, fines, and arrests.

Russia

limited cultivation of illicit cannabis and opium poppy and producer of methamphetamine, mostly for domestic consumption; government has active illicit crop eradication program; used as transshipment point for Asian opiates, cannabis, and Latin American cocaine bound for growing domestic markets, to a lesser extent Western and Central Europe, and occasionally to the US; major source of heroin precursor chemicals; corruption and organized crime are key concerns; major consumer of opiates.

Singapore

Drug abuse is limited because of aggressive law enforcement efforts, including carrying out death sentences; as a transportation and financial services hub, Singapore is vulnerable, despite strict laws and enforcement, as a venue for money laundering.

South Africa

transshipment center for heroin, hashish, and cocaine, as well as a major cultivator of marijuana in its own right; cocaine and heroin consumption on the rise; world’s largest market for illicit methaqualone, usually imported illegally from India through various east African countries, but increasingly producing its own synthetic drugs for domestic consumption; attractive venue for money launderers given the increasing level of organized criminal and narcotics activity in the region and the size of the South African economy.

Spain

Despite rigorous law enforcement efforts, North African, Latin American, Galician, and other European traffickers take advantage of Spain’s long coastline to land large shipments of cocaine and hashish for distribution to the European market; consumer for Latin American cocaine and North African hashish; destination and minor transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin; money-laundering site for Colombian narcotics trafficking organizations and organized crime.

Turkey

key transit route for Southwest Asian heroin to Western Europe and, to a lesser extent, the US – via air, land, and sea routes; major Turkish and other international trafficking organizations operate out of Istanbul; laboratories to convert imported morphine base into heroin exist in remote regions of Turkey and near Istanbul; government maintains strict controls over areas of legal opium poppy cultivation and over output of poppy straw concentrate; lax enforcement of money-laundering controls.

United Arab Emirates

The UAE is a drug transshipment point for traffickers given its proximity to Southwest Asian drug-producing countries; the UAE’s position as a major financial center makes it vulnerable to money laundering; anti-money-laundering controls improving, but informal banking remains unregulated.

United Kingdom

Producer of limited amounts of synthetic drugs and synthetic precursor chemicals; major consumer of Southwest Asian heroin, Latin American cocaine, and synthetic drugs; money-laundering center.

United States of America

world’s largest consumer of cocaine (shipped from Colombia through Mexico and the Caribbean), Colombian heroin, and Mexican heroin and marijuana; major consumer of ecstasy and Mexican methamphetamine; minor consumer of high-quality Southeast Asian heroin; illicit producer of cannabis, marijuana, depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens, and methamphetamine; money-laundering center.

Australia goes for radical overhaul to ban importation of synthetic drugs

Newsroom24x7 Desk

synthetic and illicit drugsCanberra: The cat and mouse game between law enforcement and importers that tweak the chemical structure of psychoactive substances to import deadly synthetic drugs and avoid prosecution ended this past weekend and from Saturday onwards, 5 September, the Australian Border Force officers have the powers they need to seize synthetic drugs and prevent them from making it to the street, no matter what their chemical structure.

This has been emphasised in a joint statement by Minister for Justice, Michael Keenan, who is the Minister assisting the Australian Prime Minister on Counter Terrorism and Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton.

The Crimes Legislation Amendment (Psychoactive Substances and Other Measures) Act 2015 bans the importation of all substances with a psychoactive effect and no legitimate use in Australia.

The new laws, introduced by the Coalition Government in Australia, close a loophole which allowed criminals to deliberately avoid prosecution by tweaking the chemical structure of an illicit drug to ensure it could be imported into the country.

The new ban will also help stop synthetic drugs from being presented as ‘legal’, and improve our ability to stop new drugs from entering the market, causing harm to our community and wreaking havoc on young lives.

Synthetic drugs are often marketed as legal alternatives to illicit drugs, implying they are somehow safe and credible.

The joint statement says,:”Tragically, we have learned too many times through death or injury to people, especially our young people, that this is not the case. These drugs are extremely dangerous. These legislative changes put us ahead of the criminals.

Existing criminal laws ban illicit drugs based on their chemical structure. However, the rate at which new versions of synthetic drugs appear makes it difficult for our laws to keep up.Governments and law enforcement agencies will no longer be trying to play catch up every time a ‘new’ synthetic drug is produced.

Now, rather than law enforcement agencies having to prove that the particular structure of a psychoactive substance is illegal before seizing it, all psychoactive substances such as synthetic drugs will be prohibited from importation unless the importer can prove they have a legitimate use.

If they cannot, the Australian Border Force will confiscate and destroy the drugs before they reach our streets.The ban also extends to the importation of substances that are presented as mimicking the effects of illicit drugs.

Those who attempt to import synthetic drugs into Australia in breach of the ban face penalties of up to five years imprisonment or a $54,000 fine.
Meth syndicate disrupted – Australian Federal Police.”

The joint media release between the Australian Federal Police, Australian Border Force and Victoria Police comes after a man was charged with importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, namely methamphetamine attempting to possess a commercial quantity of border controlled drug, namely methamphetamine and failing to comply with a 3LA order.