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Opium and cocaine production has reached record levels, while the global number of drug users jumped by 20 million, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said on Tuesday in Vienna.

The global number of drug users jumped by 20 million between 2015 and 2016.

In 2016, the most recent year covered by the figures, some 275 million people are estimated to have used drugs at least once a year almost 8 per cent more than the 2015 estimate, the UN agency said in its annual World Drug Report.

Global opium production jumped 65 per cent to an unprecedented 10,500 tons last year as growers in Afghanistan expanded their fields and increased their crop yields, the report says.

Meanwhile, production of ‘coca’ rose by a quarter to reach a record 1,410 tons, owing to growing production in Colombia.

Besides these trends, the UNODC warned that the opioid crisis is not confined to the United States, but that these dangerously strong pharmaceutical pain medications have also become the main drug threat in Africa.

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