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India Key Hub for Illicit Drug Trade: UNODC

  • 06 Mar 2019
  • 3 min read

According to a report by United Nation Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), India is one of the major hubs of illicit drug trade ranging from age-old cannabis to newer prescription drugs like tramadol, and designer drugs like methamphetamine.

  • Report also says that the global trend of purchasing drugs over the internet, particularly on darknet trading platforms using cryptocurrencies has already spread across South Asia, it ism particularly rampant in India.
  • India is also a transit point for opiates produced illegally, in particular heroine.
  • The report has identified more than 1,000 drug listings from India published across 50 online crypto-market platforms.
  • Drug Trafficking Routes
    • India is in the middle of two major illicit opium production region in the world the Golden Crescent (Iran-Afghanistan-Pakistan) in the west and the Golden Triangle (South-East Asia) in the east.

Magnitude of Substance use in India

  • Recently, National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC) of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi submitted its Report “Magnitude of Substance Use in India”.
  • Substance categories studied were: Alcohol, Cannabis (Bhang and Ganja/Charas), Opioids (Opium, Heroin and Pharmaceutical Opioids), Cocaine, Amphetamine Type Stimulants (ATS), Sedatives, Inhalants and Hallucinogens.


  • The survey found that, at the national level, about 14.6% of people (among 10-75 year old) are current users of alcohol.
  • About 2.8% of Indians report having used any cannabis product within past 12 months.
  • About 1.08% of 10-75 year old Indians are current users of sedatives (non-medical, non- prescription use).
  • Availability of Treatment
    • The report finds that, access to treatment services for people affected by substance use disorders is grossly inadequate.
    • Just about one in 38 people with alcohol dependence report getting any treatment.
    • Only about one in 180 people with alcohol dependence report getting inpatient treatment / hospitalization for help with alcohol problems.
    • Among people suffering from dependence on illicit drugs, one among 20 people has ever received inpatient treatment/ hospitalization for help with drug problems.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

  • The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime is a United Nations office that was established in 1997.
  • It acts as the Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention by combining the United Nations International Drug Control Program (UNDCP) and the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Division in the United Nations Office at Vienna.
  • It was named the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in 2002.
  • UNODC also publishes World Drug Report.
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