The United Nations has sounded alarm over rising cocaine consumption in Western Europe and warned that opium production could rise again in Afghanistan this year reversing the decline witnessed last year.
Releasing a new report, the world body urged European Union governments not to ignore this peril. "Too many professional, educated Europeans use cocaine, often denying their addiction, and drug abuse by celebrities is often presented uncritically by the media, leaving young people confused and vulnerable," it said.
The World Drug Report, issued by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, shows that global opium production fell 5 per cent in 2005 while cocaine production was broadly stable. Seizures of both drugs, especially cocaine, reached record highs.
Consumption of cannabis, the most widely used illicit drug, continued to increase while the market for amphetamine -type stimulants stabilized. Africa is growing in importance for trans-shipments of cocaine and heroin to Europe.
However, UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa while presenting the report said "drug control is working and the world drug problem is being contained." He said the trends in the global drugs market were moving in the right direction but governments needed to step up their efforts to reduce both supply and demand.