Opium poppies: Mexico a leading producer. Opium poppies: Mexico a leading producer.

Mexico remains No. 3 opium poppy producer

UN drug agency's 2017 report says Afghanistan, Myanmar are first and second

With 26,100 hectares dedicated to opium poppies, Mexico continues to be the third largest producer of the plant from which heroin is made, says the 2017 report of the UNODC, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.


The world’s top producer country is Afghanistan with 183,000 hectares followed by Myanmar with 55,500 hectares.

The estimated area of poppy plantations in Mexico was based on data from 2014 and 2015 and while relatively small there has been a marked upward trend.

In 2005, just 3,300 hectares of land were used to grow opium poppies in Mexico, but four years later the figure was up to 19,500 hectares.

By 2012, a thousand hectares were added to the cultivation of opium poppy, source of heroin and morphine.

The amount of heroin confiscated has increased over the years as well, from 362 kilograms in 2011 to 546 in 2015.


Without giving quantities, the UNODC report indicated that in 2015 Mexico reported the largest amount of confiscated cannabis in the world. Likewise, the largest number of marijuana plantations were destroyed here between 2010 and 2015.

The report described the structure of Mexican drug cartels as similar to drug trafficking gangs in Japan and Russia.

It also stated that “some Mexican drug cartels have presumably benefited from the protection of police and politicians.”

The report estimated that drug trafficking represents between one-third and one-fifth of the revenues earned by international organized crime groups, its relevance is declining.

“Organized criminal groups have become more agile in their structures, going from one market to the other opportunistically.”

The UN advises that regions affected by organized crime should find other socioeconomic options bolstered by legitimate and transparent institutions, as well as the firm rule of law.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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  • alance

    The United Nations should get out of the drug business. It is the prohibition of drugs that help create drug trafficking gangs and the corruption of police and politicians.

    • Doncarlos Blanco

      I think that the Mexican government should purchase and market opium products. This would put legitimate money in hands of farmers, create a revenue stream for the country, provide a needed comodity to doctors and hospitals on an international basis. Why not welcome the fact that the climate supports such crops and that there are plenty of farmers who know how to rais the crop.

  • Henry Wilson

    if the gringos have a demand for a product, the mexicans will be happy to provide it. the issue of legality is mere semantics.

    • csb4546

      Only cartels are prospering from the US drug demand – Mexico and Mexicans are not.

      • Henry Wilson

        and i never said the grunt in the streets is prospering. however there is no substantive difference between the cartels and the government as both are in this process together.

        • csb4546

          You’re right.
          Both the cartels and the corrupt politicians and security officials that are bribed by them benefit from the drug trade.

  • csb4546

    Notice that Mexico is increasingly listed among, and compared to, the worst run, failed narco-states of the world.
    Last week it was homicide rates. This week it’s drug crops. Next week………………………….?
    The most common response to these statistics is – complaints about the “methodology”, and “fairness”.
    Shooting the messinger will not solve Mexico’s existential drug violence and widespread goverment corruption.
    If a country doesn’t want to be compared to Syria and Somalia – stop mimicking them.

    • alance

      Reagan and Bush spent billions in the 1980s and 1990s to dispose of the drug barons in Colombia until Pablo Escobar was killed in 1993. Bush invaded Panama in 1989 and chased the drug traffickers north to Mexico.

  • Güerito

    “The report estimated that drug trafficking represents between one-third and one-fifth of the revenues earned by international organized crime groups, its relevance is declining.

    “Organized criminal groups have become more agile in their structures, going from one market to the other opportunistically.”’

    As I’ve been saying for two years now, looks like the cartels will continue on doing just fine despite any drug legalization in Mexico or the US.

    • alance

      The repeal of Prohibition in 1933 did not stop the Italian mafia from murder and mayhem. They quickly moved into the protection rackets, unions, gambling, prostitution and drugs.

  • Mike S

    Fentanyl is the really big problem. It is 1000X as powerful as poppy opiates and extremely addictive. More bang for the buck and it is added to diluted street heroin and unsuspecting users are dying like flies from it. There were 1.3 million hospitalizations from overdose reactions in 2016 and tens of thousands of deaths. Fentanyl is a synthetic and manufactured in China. It passes through Mx on its way to the US. Fundamentally we should ask why our society is so depressed and miserable that so many people feel the need to be stoned. The criminal “war on drugs” will never solve this problem. The only hope for those addicted is rehabilitation and Trump is cutting those funds. We need serious public school funding for education about the reality of what use of these kinds of hard drugs really mean for one’s physical and mental health. Of course prescription drugs like Oxycodin are just as big a problem and often set users on the path to buying cheaper street drugs. Anything for a profit in the US.

    • Tom Allen

      Part of society is depressed and miserable because they do not have money, they earn too little and have too much overhead. They are despondent and will do anything to feel better. Cure the money problem and you cure most of the ills. Most optimistic and happy people above the poverty line just do not do crime.

      • Mike S

        The US is prosperous 1st world country with obscene wealth disparity and a very low rate of upward mobility compared to Western Europe and other 1st world countries. Addiction rates are similar for rich and poor although death rates and street drug use affects the lower economic classes much more. Incarceration rates are far higher for the lower classes with poor legal representation and expensive “rehabilitation” opportunities are obviously much higher for the wealthy. The upper classes have more access to prescription drugs that are safer. But…addiction rates are similar for all economic classes. Alcoholism, cocaine, prescription opioids more prevalent in upper classes and street opioids & meth more prevalent for poor people. There is a disturbing trend among middle class white youth towards more street opioids. The overall death rates are now out of control…50,000 in 2016.

    • Bugz

      Last year was a low year for Afghanistan due to weather conditions. This was not the case the year before with a bumper crop. A few statistics put this in perspective more. 80% of heroin users used prescription opiates before resorting to heroin – reported by NIH government website. 90% of those addicted to a substance were predisposed to that substance before the age of 18. US troops guard 70% of the world’s raw opium in Afghanistan, physically for 16 years and longer before that via paid foreign fighters. The majority of opioids and opiates in Canada are directly from Afghanistan. Mexico grows 7% -13% of the world’s raw opium. Meanwhile, Fentanyl is manufactured legally in the US by PHarma manufacturers (some being sued by states for illegal distribution). US consumes over 70% of the world’s opium products (morphine, heroin that is derived from morphine, codeine, oxy, and hundreds of other mixed as semi synthetics or derived from an opiate as a semisynthetic by definition as well. The gateway alone has been and is US troops and Big PHarma manufacturers buying the product from them with markets protected to keep anyone else out instead of allowing the market to regulate itself in a free capital market, skyrocket artificial prices are grabbed with the most addicting substance and derivatives, while keeping competitors (people and god given natural plants) criminalized.

      • Mike S

        Interesting perspective.

        • Bugz

          — “A study of young, urban injection drug users interviewed in 2008 and 2009 found that 86 percent had used opioid pain relievers nonmedically prior to using heroin, and their initiation into nonmedical use was characterized by three main sources of opioids: family, friends, or personal prescriptions.” — National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), “Prescription Opioids and Heroin” (citing Lankenau SE, Teti M, Silva K, Jackson Bloom J, Harocopos A, Treese M. Initiation into prescription opioid misuse amongst young injection drug users. Int J Drug Policy. 2012;23(1):37-44.)
          — “Americans, constituting only 4.6% of the world’s population, have been consuming 80% of the global opioid supply, and 99% of the global hydrocodone (opiate, or opioid secondary derivative) supply, as well as two-thirds of the world’s illegal drugs.” — Congressional Testimony to the Prescription Drug Epidemic, written testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee by the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians.
          — “90% of those hooked on alcohol, tobacco, or other substances started drinking, smoking, or using them before they were 18 years old.” – National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, news release, June 29, 2011.
          –“Global opium production in 2015 fell by 38 per cent from
          the previous year, to some 4,770 tons144 (i.e. to the level
          of the late 1990s). The decrease was primarily the result
          of a decline in opium production in Afghanistan (-48 per
          cent compared with the previous year), mainly attributable
          to poor yields in the country’s southern provinces.” — World Drug Report (WDR) 2016, p 26.

          • Bugz

            Here is another interesting angle, and I’m sure those enforcing drug policies and protecting their cartel monopoly on natural property sources are no dummies to this either (and it rightfully should enrage any God fearing American whose fathers bled for this country):
            Over 33,000 overdose deaths of US citizens from opiate derivatives (Morphine, Benzo, Codeine, Heroin, Oxy, Vico, etc.) in 2015, reported by the CDC.
            ZERO deaths from Marijuana in 2015 were reported by the CDC.
            50% of teens surveyed by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse believed “prescription” legal drugs to be much safer than “illegal” drugs.
            We lie to our children, and create doorways to the underworld of drugs by forcing our physicians and health care to reinforce those lies, almost as an intentional population / property control, and then create American slaves by Corporate (private) prisons (tickers CXW, GEO held in all government employee pension plan portfolios) for life by the 13th amendment exception to slavery therein.

          • Mike S

            Thanks for the interesting facts. I would say however that your first paragraph is no longer apropos. There has been a tsunami of opioid use among young people stating in 2010 and that epidemic is not fully understood. It is at crisis levels now.


  • WestCoastHwy

    No.3 in drugs, No.2 in violence, Mexico needs to step it up to get that No.1 position.

    • Mike S

      I would guess the US is number one in drug usage rates for countries over 100 million. US and Mx are neck and neck for gun violence if you add deaths and maimed together. Mx is worlds third biggest opioid producer only because of huge US market next door. The US and Mx should be working together to solve this deadly problem…not building walls and hurling insults. Now that organized crime has been spawned in MX, it is going to be hard to get rid of it.

      • WestCoastHwy

        comparing the US with Mexico? An aging population needs it’s pain killers, it’s just the kids that sneak into grandma’s medicine cabinet that’s the problem. But even then, depending on predisposition, those kids will still be a contributing part of society.

        My point is, “if your going to do something, you better be No.1!”

        • Cris Lo

          Yup you get it. Just like you are the No.1 most annoying person always commenting in this site.

          • WestCoastHwy

            your personal attacks are unwelcome…….stick to the news context and leave me out of it. Or are you just one of the schoolyard bullies?