INCB Narcotic Drugs 2022 report notes regional imbalances in availability of pain medication, increased global use due to pandemic.

VIENNA, 16 March 2023 - The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) released its 'Narcotic Drugs 2022' publication, presenting the latest consolidated global data on narcotic drug production and use for medical and scientific purposes, including pain relief.

While globally the supply of opiate raw materials (such as opium, morphine and codeine) has remained high both as production and as stocks, there are significant disparities in the availability of various narcotic drugs in certain regions. Almost all consumption of opioid analgesics for the treatment of pain is concentrated in developed countries in Europe and North America, while the level of consumption in other regions is often insufficient for the medical needs of the population. A major problem in many low-income countries is the limited access to affordable opioid analgesics, such as morphine. Its association with misuse led to stricter control measures and reduced consumption. 


INCB found that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased use and stocks of narcotic drugs such as fentanyl-type medicines. However, use of synthetic opioids often associated with overdose, such as oxycodone, has seen a downward trend, likely due to concerns about overdose and measures taken by governments to prevent misuse.

The report further found that the cultivation and use of cannabis for medical and scientific purposes has continued to increase, from 468 tons in 2019 and 650 tons in 2020 to 764 tons in 2021.

The 'Narcotic Drugs 2021' report presents data and analysis on the global production and use of narcotic drugs, which include opium, morphine, heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, and cannabis among more than 140 internationally controlled substances, with the list being updated regularly by the INCB on the basis of scheduling decisions of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. The report is based on official government data and projections reported to INCB and INCB's analyses of trends and developments in cultivation, production and manufacture, and use of controlled narcotic drugs.

The 'Narcotic Drugs' report is published by INCB each year, and it accompanies the INCB's annual reports. 'Narcotic Drugs' covers a three-year period and is based on the actual data and estimates provided by countries and calculated by INCB. INCB has published such reports since 1968. 

' Narcotic Drugs 2022' is now available for download.

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