Central America and the Caribbean continue to be used as transit areas for drug trafficking from South America to North America. Approximately 90 per cent of the cocaine in the United States is trafficked via Mexico. Some Mexican drug cartels, under pressure from Mexican law enforcement authorities, have moved their operations to Central America, employing increasing levels of violence. In 2010, Honduras, Costa Rica and Nicaragua were identified for the first time as major transit countries for smuggling drugs primarily destined for the United States. Drug trafficking has become an important driver of homicide rates in Central America and is the single main factor behind the rising levels of violence in the sub region.\
North America remained the world’s largest illicit drug market in 2010 with all three countries in the region continuing to have high levels of illicit drug production, manufacture, trade and consumption. Cannabis remains the most widely produced drug in the region, with vast amounts produced in all three countries.
The illicit cultivation of cannabis plants in Western and Central Europe has increased dramatically. Cannabis plants are increasingly cultivated on an industrial scale, mainly indoors, and with the involvement of organized criminal groups. Europe remains the world’s second-largest cocaine market. There has been diversification in the routes of cocaine trafficking to Europe, with increased trafficking via North Africa. The volume of cocaine seized by customs authorities in Eastern Europe rose dramatically in 2010. The Board remains concerned about the variety of substances abused in Europe, which continues to grow. Results of a 2011 survey of young people aged 15 – 24 showed that five per cent of respondents had abused substances that were not under control. In 2010, a record level of new substances were identified, many of which are not under international control. Europe accounts for the largest proportion of the global opiate market, and the abuse of heroin is the biggest drug problem in Europe in terms of morbidity and mortality.
West Asia remains the epicentre of illicit opium poppy cultivation and significant increases in opium production occurred in 2011. The combination of spreading opium poppy cultivation in provinces in Afghanistan, a substantial increase in the farm-gate price of opium, and planned decreases in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) could lead to even further increases in production beyond 2011. This is of great concern to the Board, particularly in a region which already suffers from some of the highest levels of abuse of opiates.
The trafficking of cocaine from South America through Africa and into Europe has emerged as a major threat in recent years. West Africa continues to be used for the trafficking of cocaine with drug traffickers increasingly using shipping containers and commercial aircraft to smuggle cocaine into the region. Heroin enters the continent through East Africa and is smuggled, either directly or via West Africa, into Europe and other regions. In 2011, record seizures of heroin were effected in Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania. The Board is particularly concerned that the increasing flow of heroin into Africa has led to increased drug abuse throughout the region, particularly in East Africa and Southern Africa.
1956 Treaty of Rome
The Antipope Benediktos in his armored car makes me think back. I lived in