Taking Stock Of The Global Illegal Drug Trade

Taking Stock Of The Global Illegal Drug Trade

Tyler Durden’s pictureSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/26/2015 17:10 -0400

How’s the global “war on drugs” progressing, you ask?

Not so good, according to the UN Office of Drugs and Crime’s most recent World Drugs report, which tracks overall trends as well as more granular data on the trafficking and use of specific illicit substances.

Specifically, one out of every 20 people the world over used illegal drugs in 2013, for a total of 246 million but, as the UN cheerfully notes, “because of the increase in the global population, illicit drug use has in fact remained stable.” Here’s more:

According to the most recent data available, there has been little change in the overall global situation regarding the production, use and health consequences of illicit drugs.

Furthermore, the increase in global opium poppy cultivation and opium production to record levels has yet to have major repercussions on the global market for opiates. This raises concerns about the size of the challenge to law enforcement posed by increasingly sophisticated and versatile organized criminal groups.

First, a look at the big picture, which shows that not only has nothing changed, but if anything, the number of drug users and prevalance of drug use has risen over the last decade.

Meanwhile, 2014 was the second ‘best’ year for opium production since “the late 1930s”, and as you can see from the chart below, “this was mainly attributable to the fact that opium poppy cultivation reached historically high levels in the main country in which opium poppy is cultivated, Afghanistan,” which means that the trend we highlighted last August (namely that poppy cultivation has risen sharply since the beginning of the US occupation) has continued unabated.

And as a morbid reminder:

Finally, here’s a look at trafficking flows for opiates, coke, and meth:

Time to legalize it?

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Bonus chart: Is this what happens when you replace all the carbon based traders on Wall Street with machines?

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