India biggest market of heroin in South Asia: report

United Nations:  A major share of heroin in South Asian market goes to India's local criminal groups, a UN annual drug report said today.

"In 2009, the total value of the South Asian heroin estimated at $1.9 billion mostly went to Indian local criminal groups", the World Drug Report 2011 produced by UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said.

"With a value of USD 1.4 billion, the biggest market is in India," the report said.

In Asia, the biggest markets for heroin are China, Pakistan, the Islamic Republic of Iran and India.

The report said that South Asia was an important consumption and transit point for heroin originating from Afghanistan.

The report, however, pointed out that domestically produced heroin and opium is half of the consumption in India.

"Although the majority of users in India use Indian heroin, drug traffickers prefer to export Afghan heroin due to its higher purity," it said.

While opium cultivation in Afghanistan remained stable, the global trend was mainly driven by increase in production in Myanmar, where cultivation rose by about 20 per cent from 2009.

According to UNODC estimates, globally, between 149 and 272 million people, or 3.3 per cent to 6.1 per cent of the population aged 15-64, used illicit substances at least once in 2009.

Cannabis is by far the most widely used illicit drug type, consumed by between 125 and 203 million people worldwide in 2009.

"The countries most often identified as sources by the cannabis resin (hash) consumer markets are Morocco, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Nepal/India.
The report found that while global markets for cocaine, heroin and cannabis declined or remained stable, the production and abuse of prescription drugs and new synthetic drugs rose.
Story First Published: June 24, 2011 10:41 IST

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