The United Nations drugs control body, International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), said that the proliferation of new narcotics developed to circumvent existing drug laws poses a serious health problem. The INCB tasked to oversee the existing legal vacuum with regards to the new drugs makes it easy to market these substances, often over the Internet. This problem is particularly serious in the United States where the phenomenon started around 10 years ago, and is quickly spreading to the rest of the world.
The INCB said, "The number of new substances has doubled since 2009 with 388 new ones added to the list in October last year. They can be natural materials or synthetic substances, often deliberately chemically engineered to circumvent existing international and domestic drug control measures."
The report cited China as one of the main sources of supply of new psychoactive substances. The INCB also criticized the legalization of cannabis in certain US states and in Uruguay, saying it went against international drug laws. The INCB said, "Increased levels of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, is of particular concern. There has been a 37 percent increase in the potency of THC in the drugs seized in the United States for example and a 75 percent increase in cannabis coming from outside the country."
The INCB has also expressed concerns about increased opium production given the revival of poppy cultivation in Myanmar and a 17 percent jump in opium output levels in Afghanistan over the period of a year. The increase in Afghanistan's production has a considerable impact on the world market, and particularly on China and neighboring Iran, with the country being the source of 80 percent of the world's illicit opium.
The organization however welcomed the decrease in South American cocaine which it says has had a perceptible impact on major consumer markets. The supply in 2014 in North America, and to a lesser extent in Europe, remained well below 2006's record levels.