News Briefing- Week of 25 of June

  • Left-wing candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador has claimed victory in Mexico’s presidential election, held on 1 July. One of his main policies is combating Mexico’s record levels of violence, much of it related to drug cartels.
  • Epidiolex, a cannabis-based treatment for childhood epilepsy developed, is set to be launched in the autumn after being approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome.
  • Supplies of cocaine in 2016 and opium from 2016 to 2017 hit their highest ever recorded levels, according to the 2018 World Drug report released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on 26 June.
  • The misuse of pharmaceutical opioids is fast becoming a “global epidemic”, with the largest quantities being seized in African countries for the second year in a row, according to the 2018 World Drug Report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The Report has revealed seizures in Africa of opioids now account for 87% of the global total.
  • The Spanish Guardia Civil and the Austrian Federal Police, supported by Europol, have dismantled a criminal network producing and distributing synthetic drugs worldwide, known as new psychoactive substances (NPS), on the Darknet. The criminal group was also involved in money laundering their share of the profits by selling cryptocurrencies, mainly Bitcoins.
  • UNODC launched the UNODC Integrated Strategy on the Global Opioids Crisis on 26 June, to deal with the deadly global opioid crisis which is mainly affecting North America and parts of Africa and the Middle East.
  • Estimates, released by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) on 25 June, show that Colombia produced 209,000 hectares of coca crops in 2017.This is11 percent higher than the record-setting 2016 estimate of 188,000 hectares.