Vice Squad
Friday, July 02, 2004
"The Globalization of Drug Injecting"

That's the title of the editorial article that kicks off the July, 2004 edition of the journal Addiction. The authors , A. Wodak, S. Sarkar, and F. Mesquita, note the worldwide spread of drugs during the last thirty years of intensified global prohibition:
Supply enhancement describes the reality of global illicit drug cultivation and production growing steadily at 5-10% per annum for the last decade. Between 1971 and 1999, global opium production grew fivefold to reach 6100 tonnes [8-10], while coca cultivation doubled between 1984 and 1999 to reach 600 000 tonnes [10]. Enthusiastic reports of declining production usually reflect temporary and local reverses, explained most often by poor weather in critical growing areas. The orderly division of the planet into developing countries which produce illicit drugs and developed countries which consume these drugs ceased to exist long ago. As demand for illicit drugs in the developed world has become more saturated and the risks of exporting to these markets has also increased, more and more illicit drugs have found their way to expanding markets in the growing regions.
There's much else of interest in this short article, including an estimate that some 200,000 people die each year from drug injecting overdoses -- presumably, under a regulatory (non-prohibitive) regime, the vast majority of these deaths would not occur.


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