UNITED NATIONS - Illicit drugs and transnational organized crime can undercut security and development in countries and across regions, a top U.N. official told the Security Council Friday, stressing concerted action to tackle these growing threats. The time has come for urgent action. We need to take practical and pragmatic responses to these problems, Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), told a meeting of the Security Council. The Councils meeting on the impact of transnational organized crime and trafficking on global peace, security and development comes a day after the launch of the 2011 World Drug Report, which highlighted the fact that the global drug threat has not diminished. The report, produced by the Vienna-based UNODC, found that while global markets for cocaine, heroin and cannabis declined or remained stable, the production and abuse of prescription opioid drugs and new synthetic drugs rose. In Asia, the report said that governments and experts had reported a "significant" increase in use of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) over the past year, particularly of methamphetamine. "Government experts have reported that methamphetamine ranks among the top three illicit drugs consumed in several countries in this region, including China, Japan and Indonesia," said the report. UNODC said the first clandestine ATS laboratory in India was found in 2003 but more have been uncovered since. "Attempts at illicit ATS manufacture have also been reported from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. "South Asia has become one of the main regions used to obtain ephedrine and pseudoephedrine for the illicit manufacture of methamphetamine. "India is one of the world's largest manufacturers of precursor chemicals and Bangladesh also has a growing chemical industry," warned the report. The report said that some 210 million people, or 4.8 per cent of the global population aged between 15 and 64, took illicit substances at least once in the previous year. "The rate of overall drug use, including problem drug use, (0.6pc of people aged 15-64) remained stable. However, demand soared for substances not under international control, such as piperazine and cathinone.Illicit drugs continue to undermine stability, security and health in many parts of the world today. Millions over the globe are suffering and dying from using illicit drugs, Fedotov told the 15-nation Council. Meanwhile, drug trafficking is fuelling a global criminal enterprise worth hundreds of billions of dollars that seriously impact on development and security, he added. We are witnessing more and more acts of violence, conflicts and terrorist activities fuelled by drug lords. Confronting the global drug problem is a shared responsibility. Our response at the national, regional and international levels must be comprehensive, balanced and targeted, Mr. Fedotov told the 15-member body. Supply reduction measures must go hand in hand with efforts to reduce demand; neither will be effective without the other, he added. The UNODC chief noted that many crisis situations on the Councils agenda, such as recent events in the ME, the Somali piracy threat and Afghanistan, starkly demonstrate the ability of transnational organized crime and its proceeds to destabilize transitions, disrupt political processes and obstruct development. These cases also show how one fragile State beset by drugs and crime can hold hostage the stability and progress of an entire region, he stated. He informed the Council that the UN System Task Force dealing with transnational organized crime and drug trafficking has started to work, and met yesterday to try to foster more meaningful coordination within the UN system in dealing with these problems.