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U.N. says drugs a development issue

June 26, 2012 at 2:04 PM

UNITED NATIONS, June 26 (UPI) -- The head of the United Nations' anti-drug office said Tuesday fighting the international drug trade should be a part of the world's development agenda.

Speaking at a General Assembly debate on International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, Yury Fedotov, director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, pointed out only about a "quarter of all farmers involved in illicit drug crop cultivation worldwide have access to development assistance. If we are to offer new opportunities and genuine alternatives, this needs to change."

Fedotov presented the "2012 World Drug Report," a flagship study that proposed "millennium development goals" in eight categories, a statement said Tuesday, ranging from cutting extreme poverty by half to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS, each with a target date of 2015.

The report notes global patterns of drug production and use have remained stable with the exception of opium, which has rebounded to previously high levels in Afghanistan, the world's largest producer, and that overall lower levels of cultivation of opium and coca have been offset by rising levels of synthetic drug production.

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