Record levels of plant-based drug production have been reached.
Afghan opium poppy cultivation drives record opiate production.
Total global opium production jumped by 65 percent from 2016 to 2017, to 10,500 tons, the highest estimate recorded by UNODC since it started monitoring global opium production at the beginning of the twenty-first century. A marked increase in opium poppy cultivation and a gradual increase in opium poppy yields in Afghanistan resulted in opium production in the country reaching 9,000 tons in 2017, an increase of 87 percent from the previous year. Among the drivers of that increase were political instability, lack of government control, and reduced economic opportunities for rural communities, which may have left the rural population vulnerable to the influence of groups involved in the drug trade.
Cannabis remains the world’s most commonly used drug.
Cannabis was the most commonly used drug in 2016, with 192 million people using it at least once in the past year. The global number of cannabis users continues to rise and appears to have increased by roughly 16 percent in the decade ending 2016, which is in line with the increase in the world population. The quantities of cannabis herb seized globally declined by 27 percent, to 4,386 tons, in 2016. The decline was particularly marked in North America, where the availability of medical cannabis in many jurisdictions and the legalization of cannabis for recreational use in several states may have played a role.