Press Release

Alarming diversification of local drug markets in Africa poses a growing public health crisis

26 June 2024

The alarming diversification of local drug markets in Africa poses a growing public health crisis and serious challenges to law enforcement according to the World Drug Report 2024 launched by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) today. The regional launch of the World Drug Report 2024 is happening in Accra, Ghana, as part of the celebrations for the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

The local drug markets in Africa are rapidly diversifying, shifting from a predominance of domestically sourced cannabis to a multitude of transiting drugs such as cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and pharmaceutical opioids. This diversification is exacerbating existing health challenges, particularly as the availability of drug treatment services are limited in West Africa. 

Use of cannabis is particularly high in West and Central Africa, with prevalence of use in 2022 of nearly 10 per cent (31 million people). In comparison, over the same period, the global prevalence of cannabis use was of around 4%. The region has experienced the fastest global growth in cannabis use. 

Africa is increasingly a key transit hub for drugs, with substances such as cocaine from Latin America, and heroin and methamphetamine from South-West Asia passing through on their way to Europe and other destinations. Over the past thirty years, criminal networks have expanded their operations in the region.


Bernard Henebeng Asamoah

OiC - National Programme Coordinator
Bernard has been an active member of the UN System in Ghana and has been leading the UNODC office for the past eleven (11) years, in providing intervention in the fight against serious & organized crime, and how to strengthen the criminal justice system. He is an International Relations and project management professional with over seventeen (17) years’ experience in Good Governance, trans-national organized crime interventions, peace building, anti-corruption, research, and Justice Sector Reforms (Rule of law).

Prior to joining the UN, Bernard was the Head of Research and Programme Unit of the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) and had a close working relationship with International organizations in Governance and national partners in the areas of Civil Society advocacy, monitoring and Evaluation of development Policies, Project Management and Public Policy Reforms.

Bernard holds Bachelor of Law (LLB) Degree from the Faculty of Law of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA). B.A degree in Sociology with Political Science from University of Ghana, an Applied M.A in Development Policies from University of Bremen, Germany and another M.A in International Relations from Jacobs University, also in Germany.

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