The United States Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs has released its International Narcotics Control Strategy Report for 2015. In this report is a veritable blacklist of foreign nations accused of being “major drug transit or drug producing” nations. This year’s list of countries is as follows (in alphabetical order):
According to the report, these nations were placed on the list based on “geographic, commercial, and economic factors that allow drugs to transit or be produced, even if a government has carried out the most assiduous narcotics control law enforcement measures.”
Afghanistan tops the list for the third year in a row for being the world’s largest cultivator of opium poppy. Poppy fields in Afghanistan have increased from about 444 acres in 2012 to 489 in 2013. The United States government is also “particularly concerned” about poppy cultivation in Mexico. The concern with opium poppy cultivation is that it is the base ingredient of heroin. The report states:
In the past several years, U.S. officials have noted an alarming surge in the use of heroin and are taking many steps to confront this growing domestic problem. Survey results released in 2012 reported that nearly 700,000 American citizens used heroin, as compared to 373,000 in 2007. In the United States, between 2006 and 2010, heroin deaths increased by 45 percent. Today, experts understand that people from various walks of life are abusing opium products. Significant increases have been noted in major U.S. cities, including Atlanta, Denver, Chicago, San Diego, and Seattle. In the United States, between 2006 and 2011, heroin-involved deaths increased by 110 percent.
When it comes to cocaine, the entire world supply can be traced back to either Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru, according to the 2014 UN World Drug Report. However, the report does note that production of coca–the base product in cocaine–is down to it’s lowest “since authorities began to establish estimates in 1990.” It is estimated that 84% of the cocaine being used in the world is produced in South America and is moved through Mexico. This is a concern because:
The United States is the world’s largest consumer of illegal cocaine, followed by Brazil and certain countries in Europe. Although DEA reports that cocaine availability declined steadily in the United States from 2007 to 2012, the number of cocaine users has remained steady in recent years, according to U.S. surveys.
Read the entire report here.