HomeNewsBrief2013 UN Drug Report Highlights Rise in New, Unregulated Drugs
BRIEF

2013 UN Drug Report Highlights Rise in New, Unregulated Drugs

DRUG POLICY / 27 JUN 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Consumption of “new psychoactive substances” is on the rise worldwide including in Latin America, while consumption of traditional drugs appears to have stabilized, according to the newly released United Nations drug report.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) 2013 World Drug Report details a rise in new psychoactive substances (NPS), which are not under international control due to their medical use or because they are new compounds which legislation has not yet caught up with.

The number of reported NPS is growing and has for the first time surpassed the total number of substances under international control. UN Member States reported the existence of 166 such substances in 2009 compared to 251 midway through 2012. The report also noted a steep rise in seizures of “designer drugs” such as ecstasy.

Examples of NPS include bath salts, ketamine (used for anesthesia), piperazine (a medicine for treating parasitic worms), and synthetic cannabinoids, which provide a high similar to that of marijuana. Brazil and Argentina were the two South American countries most affected by ketamine use, while salvia, a hallucinogenic plant, was also found to be popular in a host of Latin American countries.

In contrast, consumption of traditional drugs such as heroin and cocaine were reported to have stabilized, and even declined, in some parts of the world — particularly the United States — though new markets for cocaine have emerged and the drug’s use has increased in Brazil, Costa Rica and Peru.

InSight Crime Analysis

Similar global trends in the emergence of new synthetic drugs were noted in both the 2011 and 2012 reports, though the reach and number of these drugs appears to be increasing. As previously noted by InSight Crime, these drugs provide traffickers new ways to skirt legal retrictions and their increasing popularity shows the adaptability of the international drug market in the face of tightened controls on illegal substances. 

The arrest of a small-time ketamine supplier in Peru in March was one indicator of the infiltration of this drug into the South American market. The use of manufactured stimulants as a whole is also increasing in South America — in Colombia, the dual stimulant and hallucinogenic 2CB has reportedly become popular in Bogota nightclubs, while thousands of synthetic drug capsules were seized in Lima in January. 

Many of these drugs can be obtained over the Internet, making them difficult to track and providing new advantages and markets to drug traffickers.

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

CARIBBEAN / 10 APR 2013

A current high-ranking State Department official and former ambassador to Colombia has predicted that drug traffickers will revive trafficking routes…

DRUG POLICY / 25 SEP 2015

In 2013, Uruguay took the unprecedented step of legalizing the production and use of marijuana. Yet, two years on, a…

COCA / 3 NOV 2017

Colombia and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) signed an agreement to cooperate on the Andean nation's…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…