Methamphetamine The fastest growing synthetic drugs market over the past 10 years Seizures and trafficking flows Substantial increases in regional and global methamphetamine seizures were reported over time, with global seizures growing more than sevenfold from 25 tons in 2008 to 185 tons in 2017 (see Figure 3). While in 2008, only 50 countries reported seizures, this figure increased to 72 countries in 2017. The increase in seizures are more than just a reflection of more effective law enforcement activities. Together with falling prices and increased quality of methamphetamine, they indicate a dynamic and growing market for methamphetamine.
3.The Americas (mainly North Amer-ica) and Asia (mainly East and South-East Asia) remained the two main hubs for methamphetamine trafficking over the past 10 years. In North America, the largest amount of seizures by weight were reported by the United States and Mexico; in East and South-East Asia, China and Thailand were the main hotspots for methamphetamine trafficking. In 2018, methamphetamine sei-zures in Thailand were 17 times larger than the combined amount of methamphetamine seized by the whole East- and South-East Asian region a decade ago.
4.Not only is methamphetamine trafficked extensively between countries within each of those subregions but also most methamphetamine trafficked globally is destined for
those two subregions.
5.Oceania reported major methamphet-amine seizures since 2012 and in 2017 thoseaccounted for 3 per cent of global methamphetamine seizures. Europe has a very small share of global methamphetamine seizures, however quantities seized increased from 0.3 tons in 2008 to 2.6 tons in 2017.Europe also registered some intra-regional shifts over the past decade: While in 2008 the largest amount of seizures were made in Norway, in 2017, France, Germany and Czechia were among the top three seizing countries. Furthermore, methamphetamine use in 2008 was mostly restricted
to Czechia and Slovakia, but has since been spreading to Cyprus,
Germany, Spain, Finland and Norway.
6.Crystalline methamphetamine Strong increases in quantities of crystalline methamphetamine seized, which is associated with a high level of health risk for users,
point to growing trafficking of the drug to East and South-East Asia, Oceania and North America.
7.In East and South-East Asia alone, seizures of crystalline methamphetamine almost quintupled from 8 tons in 2008 to 39 tons in 2017.
8.Map 1 shows the perceived crystal-line methamphetamine trafficking flows in the region from 2016 to 2018.Manufacture Clandestine manufacture of methamphetamine can range from small-scale kitchen laboratories to reach the local markets,
to large-scale laboratories with sophisticated manufacturing equipment using a range of precursor chemicals and synthesis routes (see photos on page 6). Usually drug trafficking organizations attempt to adapt their manufacturing methods in response to the
national and international control and the efforts of law enforcement
and industry in targeting and preventing the diversion of chemicals. The trend in precursor chemicals provides important information for a more comprehensive
understanding of the synthetic drugs market.
9.Currently, available information suggests that for most methamphetamine manufacture
in Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania ephedrine or pseudoephedrine continues to be used. While methamphetamine in North America was manufactured using those precursors a decade ago, nowadays, mostly P-2-P preprecursors and a number of non-scheduled chemicals are used. This shift to other precursors over the past decade seems to have been a consequence of improved controls of (pseudo)ephedrine in Canada, Mexico and
the United States. Manufacture The number of dismantled ‘ecstasy’ laboratories more than doubled from 53 in 2008 to 155 laboratories in 2017.20 Large-scale manufacture
of ‘ecstasy’ has been reported in Europe, with the main manufacturing suspected to take place in the Netherlands and Belgium in 2008. In 2017, 21 MDMA laboratories were dismantled in the Netherlands, whereas in Belgium no MDMA manufacture facility
was detected. However, reports of chemical waste dumps of MDMA precursors suggests the continuation of manufacture.21 In Oceania,
Australia reported the highest number of ‘ecstasy’ laboratories dismantled with 17 facilities, both in 12 months’ reporting period of 2009/2010 and in 2017