A masked farmer walks in a cannabis field near the town of Ketama in Morocco's northern Rif region on September 13, 2017. Moroccan law bans the sale and consumption of the drug. But that hasn't stopped farmers in Ketama growing vast plantations of it- AFP
VIENNA - 25 June 2020: Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Ghadah Wali accentuated the world's dire need for firm collective action, solidarity and cooperation to extend support for developing countries to face up to drug trafficking.
According to a World Drug Report released Thursday by the UNODC, around 269 million people used drugs worldwide in 2018, which is 30 percent more than in 2009, while over 35 million people suffer from drug use disorders.
The report also analyses the impact of COVID-19 on the drug markets, and while its effects are not yet fully known, border and other restrictions linked to the pandemic have already caused shortages of drugs on the street, leading to increased prices and reduced purity.
Rising unemployment and reduced opportunities caused by the pandemic are also likely to disproportionately affect the poorest, making them more vulnerable to drug use and also to drug trafficking and cultivation in order to earn money, the report said.
“Vulnerable and marginalized groups, youth, women and the poor pay the price for the world drug problem. The COVID-19 crisis and economic downturn threaten to compound drug dangers further still, when our health and social systems have been brought to the brink and our societies are struggling to cope,” said Wali.
“We need all governments to show greater solidarity and provide support, to developing countries most of all, to tackle illicit drug trafficking and offer evidence-based services for drug use disorders and related diseases, so we can achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, promote justice and leave no one behind,” she added.