World Drug Report: India in top five list


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 3- Illicit drug seizures in India and neighbourhood

According to the latest World Drug Report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the fourth highest seizure of opium in 2018 was reported from India, after Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Drug seizures in India and neighbourhood

  • The maximum of 644 tonnes of opium was seized in Iran, followed by 27 tonnes in Afghanistan and 19 tonnes in Pakistan.
  • In India, the figure stood at four tonnes in 2018.


  • Heroin is manufactured from the morphine extracted from the seed pod of opium poppy plants.
  • Iran reported the highest seizure of heroin (25 tonnes), followed by Turkey, United States, China, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
  • India was at the 12th position in the world.

Global pattern

  • 97% of the total global production of opium in the past five years came from only three countries.
  • About 84% of the total opium was produced in Afghanistan, from where it is supplied to neighbouring countries, Europe, west Asia, south Asia and Africa.
  • From Myanmar, which accounts for 7% of the global opium production, and Laos, where 1% of the opium is produced, it is supplied to east and south-east Asia and Oceania.
  • Mexico accounts for 6% of the global opium production, while Colombia and Guatemala account for less than 1% of global production.

Some other details

  • The report said that the global area under opium poppy cultivation declined for the second year in a row in 2019.
  • It went down by 17% in 2018 and by 30% in 2019.
  • Despite the decline in cultivation, opium production remained stable in 2019, with higher yields reported in the main opium production areas.
  • Quantities of seized opiates remained concentrated in Asia, notably in south-west Asia (70%).
  • Asia is host to more than 90% of global illicit opium production.
  • Also, it is the world’s largest consumption market for opiates and also accounts for almost 80% of all opiates seized worldwide in 2018.

Consider the question asked in 2018 “India’s proximity to two of the world’s biggest illicit opium-growing states has enhanced her internal security concerns. Explain the linkages between drug trafficking and other illicit activities such as gunrunning, money laundering and human trafficking. What countermeasures should be taken to prevent the same?”

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