Africa experiencing fastest growth in heroin use worldwide The Global Initiative addressed the UN Drugs Commission on the drivers and local impacts of the growing heroin and other drug markets in eastern and southern Africa.

On 16 October, the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime (GI-TOC) addressed the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna.

Simone Haysom, GI-TOC senior analyst, presented on the local effects that the increasing international heroin trade is having in the eastern and southern African regions.

The CND was meeting to discuss the implementation of the international community’s recent commitments on drug policy, including those concerning addressing illicit drug markets.

The focus of the session was the expansion and diversification of the range of drugs and drug markets.

In this context, Haysom explored the high-level corruption enabling the heroin trade in the regions, as well as the trends that are shaping the local impacts, such as urbanization, local governance issues, as well as the role violence plays in fragile countries and communities.

‘Africa is now experiencing the sharpest increase in heroin use worldwide and a spectrum of criminal networks and political elites in eastern and southern Africa are substantially enmeshed in the trade. The transit of heroin has shaped, and been shaped by, high-level governance dynamics, and the criminal governance of illicit markets mirrors the dynamics of political competition and rule.’

Simone Haysom

The Mexican representative praised the quality of the data presented by the GI-TOC and commented on the need for more information of this kind, particularly on the links between drug markets and other types of illicit economies, such as wildlife crime.

The GI-TOC will continue to contribute to the CND and the other policy bodies present in Vienna in the area of transnational organized crime.

All statements and presentations are available on the website of the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs.