Kiwis and Aussies smoke more marijuana than almost any other country and our illicit drug trade is on the rise, according to the UN.
The 2012 United Nations World Drug Report reveals that annual drug use among Australians and New Zealand for all drugs except for heroin “remain much higher than the global average”.
The report states that cannabis is the most widely used illicit substance across the globe, with the highest prevalence of use among Australians and New Zealanders.
The report, published in Vienna said the use of ecstasy is in decline in Australia, but cocaine use is on the rise and Australians and New Zealanders consume more marijuana per capita than any other country.
Between 9.1 and 14.6 per cent of the population of Oceania used the drug, compared to the estimated annual worldwide usage of 2.6 to 5.0 per cent.
The major destinations for cocaine traffickers continued to be in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, suggesting the Mexican drug cartels are continuing to make strong inroads into the Oceanic market.
The report, which mostly relies from statistics gathered in 2010, says that while cocaine use has decreased in North America, its use is up almost a full percentage point in New Zealand.
In New Zealand, a decrease in the use of “ecstasy” is reported to have been offset by the use of other substances mimicking its effects.
But the decrease in ecstasy use may also be due to seizures.
The report said New Zealand had reported labs making several drugs, in which “ecstasy” was also being manufactured in illicit methamphetamine laboratories.
Large quantities of pseudoephedrine, used for making the drug P, had been seized in Australia and New Zealand.
Similarly, the extraction of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine from ephedra plant material was reported in New Zealand.
Over the past few decades “significant illicit manufacture” had taken place in both Australia and New Zealand, the report said.
Belarus, France and New Zealand all reported report high levels of injecting drug use, in particular among heroin users with more than 20 per cent of Kiwi cocaine users injecting.
Damage by disease to 2010 Afghan poppy crops has painted a picture of lower opiate use worldwide, but the report warns the recovery of the crops is likely to see an increase in heroin use once again.
Globally, cannabis remains the most widely used drug followed by amphetamine-type stimulants, including ecstasy.