Press Releases

    For information only - not an official document

    22 June 2017

    Remarks of the Executive Director, UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Yury Fedotov:

    Launch of the World Drug Report

    22 June 2017

    VIENNA, 22 June (UN Information Service) - The World Drug Report 2017 marks twenty years of our flagship publication.

    In this time, UNODC has been at the forefront of global research into complex areas of drug use and supply, providing the latest estimates and information on trends and analysis. I am proud to present this year's report to you today.

    The findings of the 2017 World Drug Report can support implementation of the recommendations in the outcome document of the 2016 UNGA special session on drugs.

    The report reinforces the importance of united action to address drug challenges, and confirms the emphasis of UNGASS on the need for science- and rights-based drug use prevention, treatment and care.

    Globally, as few as one in six people in need have access to drug treatment. We are still far from meeting target 3.5 of the Sustainable Development Goals to strengthen prevention and treatment of substance abuse, and we must scale up our efforts to see tangible progress.

    Furthermore, too many people continue to lack access to pain medication, despite the international drug conventions' emphasis on ensuring the availability of controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes, while preventing diversion and misuse.

    Opioids remain the most harmful drug type, accounting for seventy per cent of the negative health impact of drug use disorders.

    The international community has come together to take action to stop this deadly trend, including through initiatives such as the Paris Pact and UNODC's integrated country, regional and global programmes.

    At its March session, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs scheduled two precursors and an analogue to the scheduled drug fentanyl.

    Fentanyl has helped fuel the tragic increase in opioid overdoses that we see in this report, and I hope the important step taken by the Commission will help to stop this deadly surge.

    The terrible impact of drug use on health can further be seen in related cases of HIV, hepatitis and tuberculosis. Much more needs to be done to ensure affordable access to prevention and treatment services, including for people in prison settings.

    Alternatives to incarceration for possession, purchase or cultivation for personal consumption, and for cases of a minor nature, as foreseen by the international drug control conventions, can also help to reduce the spread and burden of infectious diseases on prisons and the wider community.

    On the supply side, the report notes that both cocaine and opioid production are increasing, making it clear that international cooperation needs to remain at the core of our efforts.

    As the report also shows, interception rates for cocaine and heroin have increased since the 1990s, in step with enhanced cross-border collaboration between Member States.  

    At the same time, the threats posed by new psychoactive substances and other synthetic drugs continue to multiply and evolve.

    As we see with the NPS market, drug use, supply, trafficking routes and the range of the substances on the market continue to shift and diversify at alarming speed.

    The need for improved global information and early warning systems to assess and respond to the situation is very clear.

    Business models are also changing, with criminals exploiting new technologies such as the "dark net" that are altering the nature of the illicit drug trade.

    These new ways of delivering drugs highlight the importance of building modern law enforcement capacities, including to fight cybercrime, as well as involving other sectors, such as postal services, in the fight against drug trafficking.

    This year's World Drug Report draws on the available evidence to examine the links between drugs with other forms of organized crime, illicit financial flows, corruption and terrorism.

    It is well established that there are terrorists and non-state armed groups profiting from the drug trade.

    The UNGASS outcome document, as well as numerous Security Council resolutions, have expressed concern about terrorist groups profiting from drug trafficking, among other forms of transnational organized crime.

    Nevertheless, the report findings highlight the fact that much more research needs to be done.

    While recognizing that the links between drugs, terrorism and insurgency touch upon sensitive intelligence, I urge all governments to help us improve the evidence base for these reports to the extent possible.

    This report provides the best picture of the world drug problem with the available data and information. I hope that it will serve to strengthen efforts to implement the recommendations of the UNGASS outcome document, and improve responses to the challenges to health, security, safety and development posed by drugs.

    UNODC continues to working closely with our UN partners, including WHO, and in line with the international drug control conventions and the Sustainable Development Goals, to support you in all of these efforts.

    Thank you.

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    For further information, please contact: 

    David Dadge
    Spokesperson, UNODC
    Telephone: (+43 1) 26060-5629
    Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-5629
    Email: david.dadge[at]