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OAS Releases 2022 Report on Drug Supply in the Americas

  November 11, 2022

The Organization of American States (OAS) published today its Report on Drug Supply in the Americas 2022, an evidence-based report on drug supply in the Americas, describing trends and issues of interest to policy-makers and the general public.

The report was prepared over a two-year period by the Executive Secretariat of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (ES-CICAD), the OAS’s consultative and advisory body on the drug problem. It contains statistics on drug supply from 30 OAS member states, covering the period 2016-2020, and presents trends on eradication, drug seizures, laboratory seizures, and arrests on drugs including cannabis, cocaine, fentanyl, and other synthetic opioids, methamphetamine, and other amphetamine-type stimulants.

Among the main findings of the report are that:

• The primary drug of concern varies by country, reflecting the variety of illegal drug supply across the region. In some countries, opioids, particularly fentanyl, are the major drugs of concern, while in others, cocaine predominates. In other countries, synthetic drugs such as methamphetamine are a major issue.

• Cannabis seizures remain the largest, by weight, of all drugs seized in the Americas. The volume by weight of cannabis seizures between 2016 and 2020 fell dramatically in North America, remained stable in the Caribbean and Central America, and increased substantially in South America.

• In South America, high potency strains of cannabis, such as “creepy,” have recently appeared.

• Cocaine seizures increased from 2016 to 2020, with South America reporting the greatest share of seizures in the region.

• Countries where coca-based drugs were produced noted efforts to increase yield through changes in cultivation practices, processing, and the use of different varieties of coca with longer productive lives.

• Data indicate that most of the heroin trafficking is within the region, and is mostly destined for markets in North America.

• Trends in North America concerning fentanyl and the proliferation of counterfeit pills contributing to rising overdose deaths include a steady decrease in the price of fentanyl as well as fentanyl being mixed with other drugs.

• Methamphetamine production showed an increasing trend in North America while remaining concentrated in that subregion.

• The median wholesale prices of drugs were lower than retail prices, with the exception of smokable cocaine; For cocaine HCl, the median price per gram at retail is US$14.15, whereas the median price per gram at wholesale is US$9.99. In contrast, the median retail price of smokable cocaine is US$4.20 per gram and US$9.04 at wholesale.

• Male arrests are higher than female arrests for all drugs in the Americas, while the proportional difference between male and female arrests remains stable.

CICAD’s Executive Secretary, Ambassador Adam Namm, highlighted that, “The Report on Drug Supply in the Americas 2022 represents robust collaboration with OAS member states on the establishment of indicators, data collection, and in-depth review and careful analysis by CICAD experts. The Report lays important groundwork for evidence-based drug policies, strategies, and plans of action across the Western Hemisphere. Together with CICAD’s Report on Drug Use in the Americas 2019, it provides a holistic picture of the drug problem in the region and serves as the basis for furthering international dialogue and commitments to address the drug problem in the Americas and beyond.”

CICAD was established by the OAS General Assembly in 1986 and serves as the Western Hemisphere's policy forum for dealing with the drug problem. Learn more about CICAD here.

Reference: E-068/22