\ ns Office on Drugs and Crim


Opiates, cocaine, cannabis



ae UNODC 3H Research Y

This booklet constitutes the third part of the World Drug Report 2017.

© United Nations, May 2017. All rights reserved worldwide. ISBN: 978-92-1-148294-2

eISBN: 978-92-1-060626-4

United Nations publication, Sales No. E.17.X1.9

This publication may be reproduced in whole or in part and in any form

for educational or non-profit purposes without special permission from

the copyright holder, provided acknowledgement of the source is made.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) would appreciate receiving a copy of any publication that uses this publication as a source.

Suggested citation:

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, World Drug Report 2017

(ISBN: 978-92-1-148291-1, eISBN: 978-92-1-060623-3, United Nations publication, Sales No. E.17.X1.6).

No use of this publication may be made for resale or any other commercial

purpose whatsoever without prior permission in writing from UNODC.

Applications for such permission, with a statement of purpose and intent of the reproduction, should be addressed to the Research and Trend Analysis Branch of UNODC.


The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of UNODC or contributory organizations, nor does it imply any endorsement.

Comments on the report are welcome and can be sent to:

Division for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime PO Box 500

1400 Vienna


Tel: (+43) 1 26060 0

Fax: (+43) 1 26060 5827

E-mail: wdr@unodc.org Website: www.unodc.org/wdr2017


I am proud to say that this year we are marking 20 years of the World Drug Report.

Over the past two decades, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has been at the forefront of global research into complex areas of drug use and supply, supporting international cooperation and informing policy choices with the latest estimates, information on trends and analysis.

This year we are launching a new format, with the report available as five separate booklets: the execu- tive summary, together with the report’s conclusions and policy implications; a global overview of drug use and supply; a market analysis of plant-based drugs; a market analysis of synthetic drugs; and a thematic booklet on the links between drugs and organized crime, illicit financial flows, corruption and terrorism. We have done this in response to readers needs and to improve user-friendliness, while maintaining the rigorous standards expected from the Office’s flagship publication.

The 2017 report comes at a time when the interna- tional community has acted decisively to achieve consensus on a way forward for joint action.

The outcome document unanimously adopted at last year’s special session of the General Assembly on the world drug problem contains more than 100 concrete recommendations for implementing bal- anced, comprehensive and integrated approaches to effectively addressing and countering the world drug problem.

Moreover, at its sixtieth session, in March 2017, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs adopted resolution 60/1, reinforcing commitment to implementing the outcome document and charting a course to the 2019 target date of the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action on the world drug problem, as well as strengthening action towards the Plan of Action’s agreed goals and targets.

As the World Drug Report 2017 clearly shows, there is much work to be done to confront the many harms inflicted by drugs, to health, development, peace and security, in all regions of the world.

Globally, there are an estimated minimum of 190,000 in most cases avoidable premature deaths from drugs, the majority attributable to the use of opioids.

The terrible impact of drug use on health can also be seen in related cases of HIV, hepatitis and tuberculosis.

Much more needs to be done to ensure affordable access to effective scientific evidence-based preven- tion, treatment and care for the people who desperately need them, including those in prison settings. As just one example, this year’s report high- lights the need to accelerate accessibility to the treatment of hepatitis C, a disease whose negative health impact on people who use drugs is far greater than that of HIV/AIDS.

Recent attention has focused on the threats posed by methamphetamine and new psychoactive sub- stances (NPS). However, as the report shows, the manufacture of both cocaine and opioids is increas- ing. These drugs remain serious concerns, and the opioid crisis shows little sign of stopping.

The World Drug Report 2017 further looks at the links with other forms of organized crime, illicit financial flows, corruption and terrorism. It draws on the best available evidence and, most of all, high- lights the fact that much more research needs to be carried out in these areas.

Corruption is the great enabler of organized crime, and opportunities for corruption exist at every stage of the drug supply chain. However, too little is known about how different types of corruption interact with drug markets.

The outcome document of the special session of the General Assembly on the world drug problem and


Security Council resolutions express concern about terrorist groups profiting from drug trafficking, among other forms of transnational organized crime.

It is well established that there are terrorists and non-State armed groups profiting from the drug trade by some estimates, up to 85 per cent of opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan is in terri- tory under influence of the Taliban.

However, evidence on the organized crime-terrorism nexus remains patchy at best. Moreover, these links are not static. Relations between organized crime and terrorists groups are always evolving, much like drug markets themselves.

As we have seen with the NPS market, drug use, supply, trafficking routes and the substances them- selves continue to shift and diversify at alarming speed.

Drugs continue to represent a major source of rev- enue for organized crime networks, but business models are changing, with criminals exploiting new technologies, such as the darknet, that are altering the nature of the illicit drug trade and the types of players involved, with looser, horizontal networks and smaller groups becoming more significant. New ways of delivering drugs further point to the need to involve other sectors such as postal services in the

fight against drug trafficking.

Clearly, countries must be able to act and react to an ever-changing and formidable array of threats and problems. UNODC is fully engaged in strength- ening responses, working closely with our United Nations partners and in line with the international drug control conventions, human rights instruments and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which are themselves complementary and mutually reinforcing.

As the special session of the General Assembly and the recent session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs have shown, the international community is equipped to respond swiftly and decisively to global drug-related challenges.

For example, in March, the Commission scheduled two precursors and an analogue to the scheduled drug fentanyl. This important step will make it harder for criminals to illicitly manufacture fentanyl and its analogues and, I hope, can help to stem the tragic increase in opioid overdoses in recent years.

However, there remains an enormous need for capacity-building and technical assistance, and fund- ing continues to fall far short of political commitment. Further resources are urgently needed to help all Member States implement the recom- mendations contained in the outcome document of the special session of the General Assembly and achieve related targets under the Sustainable Devel- opment Goals.

The many evolving drug challenges also highlight the importance of prevention science- and rights- based drug use prevention but also prevention of crime, corruption, terrorism and violent extrem- ism, in line with commitments under the conventions and United Nations standards and norms.

Finally, I ask all Governments to help us improve the evidence base for these reports. Areas such as the links between drugs, terrorism and insurgency clearly touch upon sensitive intelligence, and there are legitimate concerns about compromising sources, collection and operations. But if we want to effec- tively address drug challenges we need to strengthen international cooperation and information-sharing to the extent possible, to close the gaps and ensure that joint action is targeted, effective and timely.


Yury Fedotov Executive Director United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime



GLOBAL OVERVIEW OF DRUG DEMAND AND SUPPLY Latest trends, cross-cutting issues


sx iailoiglaSSgiuts Seite nS ye oiled Sa oie sind Sad Sirk teeing Salo Sulele oad SG GT eel nga Sy Reams ay SEs 3 CAPLAN ATOR ¥ NO GES cosssnparsssnswecansganenscocsneusaspaedpreassaiaanitaneseiesainesiigesedeapeiabeeens 7 Be UE IC Io Gisicdasqucevasavcusenrigvabascceapuiuiedanerinnsiarabsageieacsusadebanteaeidesrauntiaraaerekeiess 9 DP Ree AN WN hes dxeyadecacuep ccteadb vecatonsieuadiah deep denen hora ratiaaevereuenart vudierespearrcadneranees 11 Py Te OPIATE WIA! cinisprarsncavercsuetenacdsauasuatarichuudiatalanicastuapbaceniapniastharauer 13 Global production of opiates increased by around 30 per cent in 2016... cee ceeseeeeeeeeeeteeeeneeetees 13 Seizures of opiates have decreased in recent years ....scseesesseeeseseeeseeseeeeseecsensecssescaeeaeseeceeeasseeesesataeeeees 14 Most opiates continue to be trafficked along the Balkan route ....eeeceeesesesseseseeeeseeeseeetecetseeseeneneeeees 16 Seizures of opiates out of South-East Asia on the increase ....eceesesesseeseesceeeseseecseseseeeeeesseeeesesaeeeeees 20 Seizures of opiates out of Latin America also on the increase.....scscesceseesesessesesesceseseseeeneeesseeeeeeesaeeeeees 21 ‘Theglobal:opiate:market ap pears:Stableleicre.: scien covssceesdeesedss resend saepenes caeedewepivsavevedeserataceeceyseesatraredeas 21 Be COC AIIS MURINE Mecctaeccnsrinomcdrpeniuctareromerosyiarneese rena beryiaiedarhoney 25 Coca bush cultivation on the increased in the last two years.....sssssssssesesseseesceeeeceeseeeceesceeaeeeceeeeeneens 25 Record cocaine seizures in 2015, trafficked primarily from South America to North America, Western and Central Europe...c.cscccsecscsssssescreeseseecnseseseeceesesateeeeseeaeeeeees 27 Global figures on cocaine use mask important regional patterns and trends ........cecseeeseseeeeeereneeetees 28 Tratirck ise OF COCA eC siiees szscissssvaseseanseste sasessscvasiveasastusaeesnaess bis tabavs cbeaxeas la naeonasasiaasnthenpuaesietesbuseyes 31 Ss, Gs ee A IRN Bs tcc cutee sees iecereaadssustcncuenade ences cseiuldnianerenendiacnbd tun: 37 Cannabis production remains a global phenomenon oo... ccececcsseeesesenseseeeseeseseseeceeeseseeeteeatseeseceeneeesees 37 Ganimabis tra th chet gs sacycitessalses dos svseseuens iar dezets ety ecu avec sisatecssiucisnigeidsiotsvasios isduedsshdens ianayeshdeaeseststaashienas 38 Cannabis use has remained quite stable at the global level in recent years, despite indications that it continues to increase in Africa and ASia....cseeeceseeeescssteeeteceteeeteceeneeeteeneees 41 Developments in measures regulating recreational cannabis use in the United States and Uruguay .....45 PAININEX aces. ccaceadiastssapcnnadscdcdauaankad sovbentg ina déauedimemadegegeumbanaedsabsata@amaabcedetuaantaatacseies ah Br ir © cadiseaaton code dtuwenescstoos ta apamencin seen Gme ad aeddys cuereensteyenemetelieidesieveosiumontcle: 65 Pe RO PINS 6 ccuserner erin ecnaaneerereste enn eenercemaeteyeeraereiwraenenvenvevaninee 67

MARKET ANALYSIS OF SYNTHETIC DRUGS Amphetamine-type stimulants, new psychoactive substances




The World Drug Report 2017 was prepared by the Research and Trend Analysis Branch, Division for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, under the supervision of Jean-Luc Lemahieu, Director of the Division, and Angela Me, Chief of the Research and Trend

Analysis Branch.

General coordination and content overview Chloé Carpentier Angela Me

Analysis and drafting Kamran Niaz Thomas Pietschmann

Data management and estimates production Enrico Bisogno

Andrea Oterova

Umidjon Rakhmonberdiev

Ali Saadeddin

Antoine Vella


Jonathan Gibbons

Review and comments

Graphic design and production Anja Korenblik

Suzanne Kunnen

Kristina Kuttnig

Coordination Francesca Massanello

Data Support Diana Camerini Raffaella Conconi

Sarika Dewan

Administrative support Anja Held Tulia Lazar

The World Drug Report 2017 benefited from the expertise and invaluable contributions of UNODC colleagues in the Drug Prevention and Health Branch of the Division for Operations; the Corruption and Economic Crime Branch, the Organized Crime and Illicit Trafficking Branch and the Terrorism Prevention Branch of the Division for Treaty Affairs; and the Research and Trend Analysis Branch of the Division for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs.

The Research and Trend Analysis Branch acknowledges the invaluable contributions and advice provided by the World Drug Report Scientific Advisory Committee:

Jonathan Caulkins

Paul Griffiths

Marya Hynes Vicknasingam B. Kasinather Letizia Paoli

Charles Parry

Peter Reuter

Francisco Thoumi

Alison Ritter

Brice De Ruyver

The boundaries and names shown and the designa- tions used on maps do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations. A dotted line represents approximately the line of control in Jammu and Kashmir agreed upon by India and Paki- stan. The final status of Jammu and Kashmir has not yet been agreed upon by the parties. Disputed boundaries (China/India) are represented by cross- hatch owing to the difficulty of showing sufficient detail.

The designations employed and the presentation of the material in the World Drug Report do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the United Nations con- cerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area, or of its authorities or concerning the delimi- tation of its frontiers or boundaries.

Countries and areas are referred to by the names that were in official use at the time the relevant data were collected.

All references to Kosovo in the World Drug Report, if any, should be understood to be in compliance with Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).

Since there is some scientific and legal ambiguity about the distinctions between “drug use”, “drug

. » <4 » « misuse” and “drug abuse”, the neutral terms “drug use” and “drug consumption” are used in the World Drug Report.


All uses of the word “drug” in the World Drug Report refer to substances under the control of the inter- national drug control conventions.

All analysis contained in the World Drug Report is based on the official data submitted by Member States to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime through the annual report questionnaire unless indicated otherwise.

The data on population used in the World Drug Report are taken from: United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Divi- sion, World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision.

References to dollars ($) are to United States dollars, unless otherwise stated.

References to tons are to metric tons, unless other- wise stated. R stands for the correlation coefficient, used as measure of the strength of a statistical rela- tionship between two or more variables, ranging from 0 to 1 in case of a positive correlation or from 0 to -1 in case of a negative correlation.


Opium production on the increase

In 2016, global opium production increased by one third compared with the previous year. Although there was also an increase in the size of the area under opium poppy cultivation, the major increase in opium production was primarily the result of an improvement in opium poppy yields in Afghanistan compared with the previous year. At 6,380 tons, however, total global opium production was still some 20 per cent lower than at its peak in 2014, and was close to the average reported in the past five years.

Seizures of both opium and heroin have remained quite stable at the global level in recent years, sug- gesting a smooth supply of heroin, irrespective of annual changes in opium production. The quantity of heroin seized in North America increased sharply in 2015. This went in parallel with reports of increasing heroin use and heroin-related deaths in that subregion.

Growing importance of Caucasus branch of the Balkan route

Drug flows are in a constant state of flux. With the changes brought by globalization and the spread of new communications technologies, drug flows are characterized more than ever by rapid changes in trafficking routes, modi operandi and concealment methods.

With about 40 per cent of global heroin and mor- phine seizures in 2015 being made in countries on the so-called “Balkan route”, the route appears to remain the world’s principal opiate trafficking route. While overall quantities seized on the Balkan route declined in 2015, an alternative branch of the route, through the Caucasus countries, appears to have been gaining in importance in recent years. That route circumvents Turkey, where the recent increase in flows of refugees heading towards countries in the European Union may have pushed traffickers to seek other options.

Expansion of the cocaine market

Data on drug production, trafficking and use point to an overall expansion of the market for cocaine worldwide. Following a long-term decline, coca bush cultivation increased by 30 per cent during the period 2013-2015, mainly as a result of increased cultivation in Colombia. Total global manufacture of pure cocaine hydrochloride reached 1,125 tons in 2015, representing an overall increase of 25 per cent over 2013.

Cocaine use appears to be increasing in the two largest markets, North America and Europe. The prevalence of use of cocaine among the general pop- ulation and testing in the workforce suggest an increase in cocaine use in the United States. In Europe, early signs of increases in cocaine consump- tion, based on wastewater analysis, have been reported.

The quantities of cocaine seized are also on the increase; they reach a record level of 864 tons in 2015 worldwide.

Cocaine trafficking expanding eastwards

Although still comparatively small overall, there are indications that cocaine consumption in several countries in Asia continues to rise. Possible proof of this was a very large seizure (900 kg) of cocaine in Sri Lanka in 2016 and another of 500 kg in Dji- bouti in 2017, which was probably en route to Asia.

Overall, in 2015, the quantities of cocaine inter- cepted in Asia increased by more than 40 per cent compared with the previous year, with increases reported across all subregions.

Increasingly effective law enforcement

Reflecting improvements in international coopera- tion, law enforcement seems to be becoming increasingly effective. Evidence of this is the fact that the estimated global interception rate of cocaine increased to between 45 and 55 per cent in 2015,



a record level. The estimated global interception rate of opiates also rose from between 9 and 13 per cent during the period 1980-1997 to between 23 and 32 per cent during the period 2009-2015.

Crossover between plant-based and synthetic cannabinoids

Synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists were first reported in 2004 as new psychoactive substances (NPS). Synthetic cannabinoids are a diverse group of psychoactive substances that are dissimilar to tet- rahydrocannabinol (the principle psychoactive constituent of natural cannabis).

Despite the predominance of synthetic cannabinoids on the spectrum of NPS, users of cannabis have reported that they prefer natural cannabis. The use of synthetic cannabinoids is perceived by users to be associated with more overall negative effects than the use of natural cannabis. Indeed, there is grow- ing recognition of the harms associated with intoxication resulting from the use of synthetic can- nabinoids. Such harms include tachycardia, psychosis, agitation, anxiety, breathing difficulties and seizures. It cannot be concluded, however, that the untoward or undesirable effects of synthetic can- nabinoids will limit their uptake or use.

Most jurisdictions in the United States now permit access to medical cannabis while nine allow the cultivation of cannabis for recreational use

The latest voter initiatives in the United States, in 2016, allowed the legalization of cannabis for rec- reational use in an additional four states. Cultivation of cannabis for recreational use is now allowed in eight states and the District of Columbia. Of greater importance is that in those jurisdictions, with the exception of the District of Columbia, licences are now granted to for-profit companies to produce and sell a range of products for the medical and non-medical use of cannabis.

In the jurisdictions where the recreational use of cannabis is now permitted, cannabis use has increased among the adult population and remains higher than the national average. This trend preceded the change in legislation in those jurisdictions, however. It is difficult to quantify the impact of the new cannabis legislation as it seems that a combination of elements

was already in the process of changing the cannabis use market in those jurisdictions when the legaliza- tion measures were put in place.

The major increase in cannabis use in those juris- dictions started in 2008, in parallel with measures allowing the medical use of cannabis (although the cannabis products dispensed have not gone through the rigours of pharmaceutical product development), decreasing risk perceptions of harm from cannabis use and an ongoing debate around the legalization of the medical and recreational use of cannabis. Since the approval of legalization measures, the increasing trend in cannabis use in those jurisdic- tions has continued.

Yet while the increases in those jurisdictions are more marked than in states where such use has not been legalized, cannabis use has increased at the national level. The developments observed in the jurisdictions where the use of cannabis has been legalized (includ- ing the perception of risk of harm from cannabis use) appear to have affected the cannabis market and users’ perceptions of cannabis nationwide. It has been observed that increases in cannabis use across the United States are disproportionally asso- ciated with adults with a low socioeconomic status who are regular and heavy users of cannabis.

Cannabis regulation in Uruguay

In 2013, the Government of Uruguay approved legislation regulating the cultivation, production, dispensing and use of cannabis for recreational pur- poses. Since then, the Government has passed additional decrees and ordinances concerning the implementation of specific elements of the cannabis regulations. They include regulating the medical use of cannabis, the marketing and dispensation of can- nabis for recreational use, including through pharmacies, and the registration of recreational can- nabis users. However, the impact of the provisions regulating the recreational use of cannabis in Uru- guay will be evident only after they have been fully implemented, and will require close monitoring over time.


Although presented as a stand-alone publication, this booklet constitutes the third chapter of the World Drug Report 2017. It presents market analysis for the three plant-based drugs cocaine, opiates (opium, morphine and heroin) and cannabis and examines current estimates and trends in their cul- tivation and production. The section on markets also examines recent developments in, and estimates of, seizures made on major trafficking routes and in destination countries, as well as significant develop- ments in the consumption of the plant-based drugs in all regions.

million cannabis

This booklet subsequently examines the major developments in the jurisdictions in the United States of America that have measures allowing cultivation of cannabis for recreational use, as well as issues surrounding the medical use of cannabis across the country. An analysis is presented of patterns and trends in cannabis use both among the adult and youth populations in those jurisdictions and in the United States as a whole. Finally, the booklet provides an update on the implementation of legislation in Uruguay regulating the recreational use of cannabis.

million opiates

Number of countries reporting drug seizures, 2010-2015







Global cultivation

Global production

Global seizures hoe heroin & morphine


heroin § morphine

Global number of users

Notes: Data on cultivation and production/manufacture refer to 2016. Data on seizures and numbers of users refer to 2015. Seizures of different substances are of varying purity. Estimates of cultivation and eradication of opium poppy, production of opium, manufacture of heroin and prevalence of opioids and opiates use are available in the annex of booklet 2.

Opium is illicitly produced in around 50 countries worldwide, with the main areas of production being located in three subregions. Countries in South-West Asia (mainly Afghanistan) supply markets in neigh- bouring countries and in countries in Europe, the Near and Middle East/South-West Asia, Africa and South Asia, with small proportions going to East and South-East Asia, North America and Oceania. Countries in South-East Asia (mainly Myanmar and, toa lesser extent, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic) supply markets in East and South-East Asia and in Oceania. Countries in Latin America (mostly Mexico, Colombia and Guatemala) mainly supply the United States of America and the more limited markets in South America.

In 2016, the global area under opium poppy culti- vation increased in size by 8 per cent from the level

of the previous year, to 304,800 hectares (ha), pri- marily reflecting an increase reported in the cultivation of opium poppy in Afghanistan that year (10 per cent). With 201,000 ha under opium poppy cultivation, Afghanistan accounted for roughly two thirds of the estimated global area under illicit opium poppy cultivation in 2016.

No estimate of the area under opium poppy culti- vation in Myanmar in 2016 is available, but the 2015 estimate was 55,000 ha, making Myanmar the world’s second largest opium-producing country that year (20 per cent of the total area under opium cultivation in 2015). A socioeconomic survey was, however, undertaken by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in 2016 in Shan State,! which in recent years has accounted for

1 UNODC and Myanmar, Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control, Evidence for Enhancing Resilience to Opium Poppy Cultivation in Shat State, Myanmar: Implications for Alterna- tive Development, Peace, and Stability (Bangkok, 2017).




FIG. 1 | Opium poppy cultivation and production of opium, 1998-20164

8,000 320,000 7,000 280,000 wn = o 2 6,000 240,000 & 2 g = 5,000 200,000 £ 2 < 3 4,000 160,000 .S Ss WS mo) © © 3,000 120,000 2 e 5 2,000 80,000 9 1,000 [| 40,000 - 0

oonoowteannmniedsg¥éuovyprnroowoaono0o#}>HNM THM ©

on 2 © es ee ee



Total area under cultivation = Production in other countries © Production in Mexico @ Production in Afghanistan

Production in the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Mexico, Myanmar and other countries in 2016?

@ Production in the Lao People's Democratic Republic @ Production in Myanmar

Sources: UNODC calculations based on illicit crop monitoring surveys and responses to the annual report questionnaire.

9 Only preliminary data are available for 2016.

around 90 per cent of Myanmar’s total poppy cul- tivation and opium production. The survey revealed that the proportion of villages producing opium poppy fell from 31 per cent of all villages in Shan State in 2015 to 22 per cent in 2016: a decrease of almost 30 per cent. However, this trend has been offset by an increase in the size of the average area under opium poppy cultivation, from 0.4 ha to 0.6 ha per household where cultivation is taking place, suggesting an increasing concentration of opium poppy cultivation in Shan State. At the same time, 2016 saw an increase of 5 per cent in the price of opium, which may point to a decline in production (or an increase in demand).

Based on 2014/2015 estimates (26,100 ha), the third largest area worldwide under opium poppy cultivation was identified as being that in Mexico. No estimate of the area under opium poppy cultivation in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic in 2016 is available, but the 2015 estimate was 5,700 ha.

Based on available cultivation and yield data, global opium production increased by more than 30 per cent from the level of the previous year, to around

6,380 tons? in 2016. This increase was primarily a reflection of the rising level of opium production reported in Afghanistan (a 43 per cent increase from the level of the previous year), which was mainly the result ofa partial recovery in the extremely poor yields in its southern and western provinces recorded a year earlier.

Of the 6,380 tons of opium produced worldwide in 2016, it is estimated that some 2,100 tons remained unprocessed for consumption as opium, while the rest was processed into heroin, resulting in an estimate of some 448 tons of heroin manu- factured worldwide (expressed at export purity).

Seizures of opiates have decreased in recent years

After a long-term upward trend since the beginning of the new millennium, global quantities of opiates seized, expressed in heroin equivalents, have been


Data for 2016 are still preliminary as information from other major producing countries, except Afghanistan, is still missing. Totals were calculated assuming that such cultivation and production remained unchanged from a year earlier.


FIG. 2 |Trends in the global interception rate of opiates, 1980-2015 35 £ 30 =| =z 25 BS a0 ox 20 25 22 15 cw =- & =z 10 3 5 5 0) a2 of co nn oO 2 DD ne om= 45 85 SR &a

Sources: UNODC calculations based on illicit crop monitoring surveys and responses to the annual report questionnaire.

Note: For details of the calculation methods, see the online methodology section of the present report.

declining since 2011. That decline was exclusively the result of morphine seizures falling from a peak in 2011, when large amounts of morphine were seized in Afghanistan. Otherwise, seizures of both opium and heroin have remained quite stable at the global level in recent years, in line with a fluctuating, although overall stable, level of opium production.

Largest seizures of opiates primarily in the Near and Middle East/South-West Asia

Reflecting the high concentration of opium produc- tion in Afghanistan, the largest opiate seizures in 2015 continued to be reported by countries in the Near and Middle East and South-West Asia, accounting for 97 per cent of the global quantity of opium, 94 per cent of morphine and 47 per cent of heroin seized that year. When all seizures of opiates, expressed in heroin equivalents, are considered, the Islamic Republic of Iran seized almost half (49 per cent) of the global total in 2015, followed by Paki- stan (16 per cent), China, Turkey and Afghanistan (6 per cent each) and the United States (5 per cent).

In terms of seizures of heroin and morphine, Asia accounted for 70 per cent of the total quantity seized in 2015, while Europe accounted for 18 per cent and the Americas for 10 per cent, reflecting the concentration of opium production in Asia and Latin America, as well as opiate markets in Asia, Europe and North America.

Seizures of heroin and morphine decreased in Europe in 2015, but continued to increase in the Americas

The decrease in the quantities of heroin and mor- phine seized in Asia since the peak of 2011 came to a halt in 2015 when quantities intercepted stabilized.

FIG. 3 | Countries reporting largest quantities of opiates seized, 2015

Opium Iran (Islamic Iran (Islamic Republic of) Republic of) Pakistan Pakistan Afghanistan China France United States China Mexico United States India Colombia Colombia India Turkey Mexico Afghanistan Tajikistan Hungary Myanmar Canada Uzbekistan Russian Federation

° 8 is) te) o fo} a 6 a

Seizures (kilograms)

200,000 300,000 400,000 500,000

Source: UNODC, responses to the annual report questionnaire.

Seizures (kilograms)



Pakistan Iran (Islamic Republic of)


Turkey United States

Afghanistan Russian Federation Viet Nam


United Kingdom Australia France

2,000 3,000 4,000 5,000 6,000 7,000 8,000

Seizures (kilograms)





1G. 4 | Global opium production and quantities of opioids seized, 1988-2016

9,000 8,000 vn 5 7,000 = > 6,000 M4 3 5,000 2 4,000 = 5 3,000 So 2,000 1,000 0

Opium production Ma Heroin seizures = Seizures of pharmaceutical opioids

Source: UNODC, responses to the annual report questionnaire.

270 240 210 180 150 120

Opioid seizures (tons)

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016

ms Opium seizures in heroin equivalents lm Morphine seizures

Note: A ratio of 10:1 was used to convert seizures of opium into seizures expressed in heroin equivalents.

In Europe, on the other hand, the quantities of heroin and morphine seized, which had been increasing over the period 2011-2014, fell in 2015, particularly in West and Central Europe (-56 per cent).

By contrast, the quantities of heroin and morphine seized in 2015 continued to increase in the Ameri- cas, particularly in North America (+21 per cent from the previous year).

Seizures of pharmaceutical opioids have reached the second-highest level ever reported

Largely linked to very large seizures of codeine and to comparatively smaller seizures of tramadol and buprenorphine, reported quantities of pharmaceuti- cal opioids seized grew exponentially in 2014, exceeding global seizures of opiates (expressed in heroin equivalents) for the first time ever. Most of the pharmaceutical opioids intercepted in 2014 were reported by countries in South Asia, followed by countries in the Near and Middle East, suggesting significant levels of diversion and misuse of such substances in those subregions.

Although overall quantities of pharmaceutical opi- oids seized decreased in 2015, they were still larger than global heroin seizures and remained very high compared with the quantities intercepted before the

peak of 2014. In 2015, pharmaceutical opioid sei- zures were dominated by tramadol, which, in terms of weight, increased more than fourfold from the level of the previous year. The largest seizures of pharmaceutical opioids in 2015 were reported in Africa, most notably in West and Central Africa, where large amounts of tramadol were seized, whereas most of the tramadol seized in the previous year was seized in countries in the Near and Middle East. The overall decline in seizures of pharmaceuti- cal opioids in 2015 was primarily linked to smaller quantities of codeine being seized in South Asia in 2015 than in the previous year (for more details see

booklet 2).

Most opiates continue to be trafficked along the Balkan route

The main trafficking routes of opiates out of Afghan- istan remain the so-called Balkan route (via the Islamic Republic of Iran and Turkey to West and Central Europe); the southern route (to South Asia, Gulf countries and other countries in the Near and Middle East and in Africa); and the northern route (through Central Asia to the Russian Federation). Seizures of heroin and morphine made along these routes (plus seizures made in Afghanistan, Pakistan and West and Central Europe) accounted for 75 per cent of global heroin and morphine seizures in 2015.



FIG. 5 | Quantities of heroin and morphine FIG. 6 | Distribution of global quantities of heroin seized, by region, 1998-2015 and morphine seized in 2015 (N= 90 tons) 160 ne 6 ; Africa ceania § 190 1% 1% Near and Middle East/ == South-West Asia 52% g 100 Americas 2 80 10% > = 60 = East and - 40 South-East Oo 20 Europe Asia 14% 0 18% | South Asia WDHNDOANMNTNORWMDOANMT ——— 2% ONnooooooqooqoqoodtt dst tt dat et a NAMRNOoDWDWWGOACDVDGOCGVCCGVCCCOCCO FO A AANNNNNNNNNNNNN NN Central Asia and Transcaucasian countries @ Europe m& Americas Oceania 2% © Africa = Asia Source: UNODC, based on responses to the annual report Sources: UNODC, based on responses to the annual report questionnaire; questionnaire. and other government sources.

FIG. 7 | Percentage distribution of quantities of heroin and morphine seized, by main trafficking route,? 1998-2015

Seizures related to Afghan opiates


South-East Asia/Oceania Northern route

Southern route


Balkan route

Western and Central Europe Afghanistan

~ D lee} oO oO oO


N fo)

Proportion of global seizures


ao DD Oo Dn BD OO a D O a AON

2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009

2001 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

9 Balkan route: Islamic Republic of Iran, South-Eastern Europe; southern route: South Asia, Gulf countries and other countries in the Near and Middle East, Africa; northern route: Central Asia and Transcaucasia, Eastern Europe.

Source : UNODC calculations, based on responses to the annual report questionnaire.

Seizure data suggest that the world’s largest opi- on the Balkan route in 2015, the largest quantities ate-related trafficking activities continue to take _ were seized in the Islamic Republic of Iran (24.4 place along the Balkan route. Overall, 37 per cent tons), Turkey (8.3 tons) and the Balkan countries of the global quantity of heroin and morphine seized of South-Eastern Europe (0.9 tons).

were reported by countries heavily affected by the THe importance of trafficking of Afghan opiates

trafficking of Afghan opiates along the Balkan route through the Balkan route is difficult to assess because in 2015, or 43 per cent if seizures made in Westand a number of countries may be affected by different Central Europe are included (most of the quantities trafficking routes. For example, countries in Western seized in that subregion are related to trafficking via and Central Europe may be supplied with Afghan the Balkan route). A breakdown of seizures shows _ opiates via both the Balkan route and the southern that of the 34 tons of heroin and morphine seized _ route. Another example is Pakistan, which reported



spue|s] Pue/y/C4 BY} JAAO ALUBIaJaAOS HujusaUOD PUejad] UIBYLION Pue ulejG JeaID JO WOpPbuly payiufy ay, pue euljuabily JO SJUBWLUAAOH ay) UaaMjaq s}sIXa ajNdSIp \v pauiuajap Uaaq JaA JOU sey UePNS yinos pue uepns ay} uaamjaq Alepunog Jeuly ays ‘sayed ay} Aq uodn paaibe uaag Jaf JOU sey sIWIYysey pUe NUIWeS JO sN}eIs /eUY BY] ‘Ue}SI¥eY Pue elpuj Aq uodn paaibe JWYsey pUue NWUWEeF Ul /O1]UOD

{0 aul] ay} Ajazewixoidde s}uasaida/ aul] PaLJOP ay ‘salepUNOG pPaulWiaj}apuN juasasdas saul] payseq ‘suoeN payUN ay} Aq aduezdarre JO JUaWAsJOpUA /eIDY4O AJdwI JOU OP dew siy} UO UMOYS salepUNoG ay! ‘Bulyayje. JO UO/JEUN}SAP 1X9U JO BUO AY} JO UONAWNSUOD JO ease AY) JOYA BJEI/PUl SMOIE JO S]UIOd Pua ‘ADUCUAAOJ }Se/ JO GUO AY] JO aINJIeJ/NUeW JO Base AY] JOYA BLCd/PUl SMOE AY) 4O SUIBLIO ‘Bul -YDUJel] JO UOI]IaJIP BY} JUaSaIdas SMOLIE MO/{ ‘Pa}Ia/Jas aq JOU ABW SMO}} AJEPUOIAS [JAAS A/IYM saznos Hulydije1 Huyjsixa JO aeripul Ajpeoig se pasap|suod aq 0} ase Ady} ‘ydNs se :aseqejep ainzias np Jenpiaipul pue asjeuuoljsanb yiodas jenuue ay} ul sajers Jaquiayy Aq payiodas se snp pazias so uojeuljsap pue ysued ‘ainuedap/ulblo JO AUNOD Jo siseq ay} UO pauiWajap ase SMO, BUlyDJl}] AY] !SAI0N

‘aseqejep aunzias Bnip jenpiaipul pue asleuuonsanb Yoda jenuue 0} sasuodsai UO paseg ‘uO!eJoge|a DGONN :s821N0S

anol UJaYyINOS <———— 91NOJ WaYWON <t anol ueyjeg

ybyy ul padnpoid sajeido jo pauoluaw Ajjuanbe. SO)! mm

VOINANV s,a|doag oe/sewuUeAY\ Ul U AMOS. Aq pajersuab Buppyjen uloaH

a uawy Ue] : Aq payejouab bu


/ se] 8|PP! f sewuekyy aa ® eee ; § / PF yin5 uelsiad elpul 7 ueysIxed

eoUaWYy JO saves poyun

TWYLNd> epeued

uoljeiapay ueissny

GLOZ-LLOZ ‘SMo|} BurPyjen azeido Ule/|




very large seizures in 2015 (17 tons) that were often destined for countries on the southern route, while the Islamic Republic of Iran reported that 85 per cent of the heroin it seized in 2015 transited Paki- stan prior to arriving on Iranian soil.

Emergence of a new trafficking route to Europe via the Caucasus

While overall seizures made along the Balkan route declined in 2015, an alternative branch of the route, through the Caucasus, seems to have been gaining in importance in recent years.>> 4 That route circum- vents Turkey, where the recent increase in flows of refugees heading towards countries in the European Union may have pushed traffickers to seek other options.

Heroin trafficked along this route is shipped from the Islamic Republic of Iran to Armenia or Azerbai- jan and then to Georgia for shipment by sea to Ukraine (often Odessa) before being trafficked to Romania (or the Republic of Moldova), or directly from Georgia to ports along the Black Sea in Euro- pean Union countries (notably Romania), before re-entering the eastern branch of the main Balkan route in Romania for trafficking onward to the Netherlands (93 per cent of heroin trafficked into Romania, according to Romanian authorities in 2015) and other countries in West and Central Europe. Romania, where for years the bulk of the heroin had previously transited Bulgaria (71 per cent in 2014), reported for the first time in 2015 that the vast majority (93 per cent) of it had tran- sited Ukraine and only a small proportion (7 per cent) had transited Bulgaria.

While the northern route maintains its relative importance, changes in the southern route are less clear

Accounting for 5 per cent of total quantities of mor- phine and heroin seized in 2015, the next largest seizures reported in relation to Afghan opiates were made on the northern route. Most of the heroin destined for the northern route leaves Afghanistan


Europol, SOCTA 2017: European Union Serious Organized Crime