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Africa’s Cannabis Consumption is Growing Faster Than Anywhere Else, So is the Use of Dangerous New Drug “Cocktails”

Africa’s Cannabis Consumption is Growing Faster Than Anywhere Else, So is the Use of Dangerous New Drug “Cocktails”

UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Vienna

27 June 2024 at 08:00:00

Cannabis use in Africa is growing faster than any other region in the world, according to the latest UN Drug Report. The continent is also increasingly affected by drug trafficking and the use of new and dangerous drug “cocktails”

This Excerpt from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s World Drug Report 2024, published on 26 June 2024.


Countries in Africa have not traditionally been a part of the main drug trafficking routes, but criminal groups have increasingly turned to the continent for the transhipment of cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.


The trafficking of these drugs to and from Africa has clearly increased over the last three decades.


This has resulted in a spillover of international drug trafficking flows to local markets, exacerbating drug use harms.

According to qualitative data, Africa is the region with the fastest growing cannabis use.


Another typical pattern of use found mostly in Africa is the non-medical use of falsified tramadol, an opioid that is not under international control.


Cocaine, which was previously believed to only transit the region, is increasingly being used there, with the number of people entering treatment for cocaine use rising. In some countries, cocaine has even become the most commonly reported main drug of use for women in drug treatment.


In addition, heroin continues to bring significant number of people to drug treatment in North, East and some parts Southern Africa.


A growing concern is the use of drug mixtures and concoctions going by names such as “kush”, “karkoubi” and “nyaope”. According to the limited evidence available, they often contain a number of harmful substances, including various illicit drugs, pharmaceuticals such as benzodiazepines, alcohol and solvents.

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