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Security & Strategic Review - April 2020

MEXICO: Falling opium poppy production

The amount of opium poppy illicitly cultivated for the production of heroin in Mexico is falling. This is the key finding of the ‘Mexico Opium Survey 2017-2018’ report produced by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (Unodc). The result is positive given that the amount of illicit opium poppy cultivations in Mexico had been increasing since 2015. There are various potential causes for this, including the efforts by the Mexican government to eradicate illicit crops. But the main reason appears to be the fall in demand for heroin as Mexican drug trafficking organisations (DTOs) shift away from producing heroin and towards producing synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, for which there is a growing demand in the US.

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