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Illegal drug use and smuggling increasing - new report

Southern Africa continues to be the major source of cannabis in Africa, according to an annual report by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB). A separate concern, notes the INCB report, is the increased use of injected drugs in major urban centres such as Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town. "That trend is particularly worrisome, as the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate is very high in sub-Saharan Africa. Furthermore, there is the potential risk for the transmission of HIV, hepatitis and sexually transmitted diseases through the use of contaminated needles and syringes," said the report. South Africa, Malawi, Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique, in that order, have been identified as the major producers of cannabis in the region. Most of the good quality cannabis grown in the region is smuggled to Europe. Drug traffickers are also using Angola, Nigeria and South Africa as major transit points for smuggling cocaine originating from South America to Europe, and the report notes that the number of seizures of cocaine reported in Nigeria and South Africa has risen. The abuse of mandrax remains unabated in Southern Africa, particularly in South Africa, where it is the second most commonly used illicit drug. Mandrax makes its way to South Africa from India and China, often through Mozambique, Swaziland and Zimbabwe, and from "clandestine laboratories" in the region. The INCB notes that some heroin is also smuggled into South Africa, "where its abuse has increased, particularly among the youth". According to the Board, production of the "Ecstasy" drug has also increased in South Africa. The INCB is the independent and quasi-judicial control organ for the implementation of the United Nations drug conventions.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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