Among the key findings of a new UN world report on drugs: a drop in opium and cocaine production; a rise in synthetics and the potency of cannabis; the need to focus on drug treatment not incarceration, and traffickers not users; and the alarming rise of drug-related crime, as evidenced in the chart above. Still, it says legalization would be "an historic mistake."
The report's conclusions were challenged by Transform, a British drugs charity with special consultative status with the UN.
"Despite the ongoing attempts to put a positive spin on the data there is no hiding from the reality that the era of global drug prohibition, enshrined in the three UN drug conventions (1961, 1971 and 1988), has witnessed a consistent escalation in harms associated with illicit drug production, supply and use," said Danny Kushlick, head of policy at Transform.
"The UNODC will go through its annual charade of telling the world that it has 'contained' the drug problem and that they finally have organized crime gangs in their sights. But even their own propaganda cannot disguise the shocking long-term failure of international drug control efforts.... or disguise the fact that the UNODC oversees the system that gifts the vast illegal drug market to violent criminal profiteers, with disastrous consequences."
For more graphs showing the global results of the report, go here