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Drug Testing News
U.N. Warns Synthetic
Drug Abuse on Rise
Tue Sep 23 2003
By AIDAN LEWIS, Associated Press Writer
ROME - The supply and use of synthetic drugs such as Ecstasy
and amphetamines are soaring worldwide in part because the
public doesn't realize how dangerous they can be, a U.N.
report said Tuesday.
The report, presented at a news conference in Rome, estimated
that global use of Ecstasy rose by 70 percent from 1995-1997
to 2000-2001, while use of amphetamines rose by 40 percent
over the same period.
More than 40 million people worldwide, or 1 percent of all
people 15 years or older, used amphetamine-type stimulants,
known as ATS, in 2000-2001, the report said.
The report said seizures of the substances rose from about
four tons in 1990-1991 to almost 40 tons in 2000-2001. It
estimated the global value of the ATS industry at $65 billion
The report, by the Vienna-based U.N. Office on Drugs and
Crime, said users are concentrated in Europe, North America
and Asia, while manufacturers are found in the United States
Use of the drugs can cause loss of memory and premature
decline in other mental functions, and the drugs are wrongly
perceived as less harmful than other illicit substances such
as heroin and cocaine, the report said.
Officials called for governments to raise awareness about the
dangers of ATS abuse and to crack down on suppliers.
"Government responses have to be stronger and better
coordinated," said Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of
the U.N. agency.
John Walters, director of the White House Office of National
Drug Control Policy, called for a coordinated global campaign.
"We need leadership in the countries that are now sources of
production, we need leadership and treatment and prevention
and demand reduction programs, and we need to follow through
internationally so that the criminals who live off poison and
slavery do not use international boundaries as shields,"
Walters told reporters.