Poorer Nations Seeing a Rise in Drug Use Globalization erases a historic trend: UN report By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted Jun 27, 2012 4:35 PM CDT 14 comments Comments A man smokes marijuana during a march earlier this year calling for the decriminalization of marijuana in Guatemala City. (Getty Images) (Newser) – It used to be that poor nations in South America and elsewhere shipped drugs to richer nations while their own residents largely avoided using them. That has changed in the last decade as the economies of developing nations have improved, according to a new UN report. Now these rising nations are seeing a spike in drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy, and heroin as people become more able to afford them, reports the Wall Street Journal. "The traditional distinction between drug-producing countries in the poorer south and consuming countries in the more affluent north is thus becoming increasingly blurred," says the report. "As with many other social phenomena, globalization has been accelerating the diffusion and a certain homogenization of the contemporary drug problem." The trend holds not only for South American nations sending drugs north to the US, but for poorer nations in Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Caribbean.