Drug substances

TNI does detailed research on the production, markets and consumption of various illegal drug substances including cocaine and crack (derived from coca), marijuana, opium and synthetic drugs. On the producer-side, TNI calls for respect for human rights, particularly of peasant producers, who are often caught up in repressive drug policies. On consumption, TNI advocates an approach of harm reduction.

Towards a world market for coca leaf?

Pien Metaal
June 2009

When we think of people like Pope Paul VI, the Queen of Spain or Britain’s Princess Anne, most of us do not think of them as criminals. But that is what they are, under the current international drug law. Their crime? They all sipped coca tea on their arrival to the Bolivian capital La Paz. Bolivia is planning to submit a formal request to the UN to declassify coca as a narcotic drug, emphasizing in its arguments the traditional uses, such as the chewing of the leaf.

Withdrawal Symptoms Briefing

August 2008

This TNI briefing aims at contributing to a better understanding of current market dynamics in Southeast Asia, essential for designing more effective and sustainable policy responses consistent with human rights and harm reduction principles.


Abolishing Coca Leaf Consumption?

March 2008
The Transnational Institute condemns the decision by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) in their 2007 annual report released today, which calls on countries to ‘abolish or prohibit coca leaf chewing and the manufacture of coca tea’.


Smokeable cocaine and crack in Brazil

October 2006

In Brazil, the first large crack consumption market appeared at the end of the 1980s in São Paulo and expanded during the 1990s reaching its peak halfway the decade. Crack use spread to other regions in Brazil during the 1990s, in particular to youngsters from low-income population in
urban areas. A 2002 survey among young street dwellers in all the state capitals revealed that crack had spread to 22 states.

Drugs and Conflict in Burma

December 2005



Burma/Myanmar is undergoing yet another humanitarian crisis while entering a new critical political stage. In the Kokang region, an opium ban was enforced in 2003, and since mid-2005 no more poppy growing has been allowed in the Wa region. Banning opium in these Shan State regions where most of the Burmese opiates were produced, adds another chapter to the long and dramatic history of drugs, conflict and human suffering.

Synthetic Drugs: Related websites and documents

November 2005
Recommended web resources on synthetic drugs

Global Trends in Drugs: Related websites and documents

November 2005

Useful links to recommended resources on global trends in drug usage

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