UN: drug abuse stable but Afghan opium a concern

By The Associated Press | Posted - Jun. 26, 2014 at 6:50 a.m.

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BERLIN (AP) — The United Nations' drug-fighting agency says global drug use appears to be stable, but increasing opium production in Afghanistan is a cause for concern.

The Vienna-based U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime estimated in an annual report Thursday that between 162 and 324 million people used an illicit drug at least once in 2012, little changed from the previous year.

The number of drug-related deaths was estimated between 95,500 and 225,900. The report says that's lower than in 2011 due to decreases in a few Asian countries.

The U.N. agency says surging opium production in Afghanistan is a setback. It says 209,000 hectares (some 516,000 acres) there were used to cultivate opium poppies last year, up from 154,000 hectares (380,500 acres) in 2012 and the third consecutive rise.

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