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.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

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.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

BOLIVIA / 16 SEP 2013

Venezuela and Bolivia have reacted angrily to a White House report criticizing their counternarcotics efforts, in another sign of deteriorating…

DRUG POLICY / 27 NOV 2013

The US Drug Enforcement Administration's annual report charts evolving market forces in the supply and demand of narcotics, with cocaine…

DRUG POLICY / 10 JUN 2014

Mexico's President Enrique Peña Nieto has said he is willing to discuss legalizing marijuana, becoming the latest regional leader to…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…