Use of drugs on the rise, says UN report

Published June 27, 2021
A heroin addict smokes heroin in Lamu, Kenya. — Reuters/File
A heroin addict smokes heroin in Lamu, Kenya. — Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has estimated that around 275 million people used drugs worldwide last year, while over 36 million people suffered from drug use disorders.

The ‘2021 World Drug Report’ released in Islamabad on Saturday says between 2010 and 2019, the estimated number of past year users of any drug globally increased from 226m to 274m, or by 22 per cent, in part as a result of global population growth.

The report says that between 2010 and 2016, the prevalence of drug use disorders remained rather stable globally, with the number of people suffering from drug use disorders changing over that period mainly as a result of population growth. However, the prevalence estimates increased from 2017 onwards and the prevalence of drug use disorders in 2019 was higher than previously estimated.

Meanwhile, in parts of Asia and West Africa, increasing amounts of cocaine have reportedly been seized, which indicates that cocaine use could potentially increase, especially among the affluent, urban segments of the population.

According to the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019, an estimated 494,000 deaths and 30.9 million years of “healthy” life lost as a result of premature death and disability were attributable to the use of drugs. Most of the burden of disease was among males, who contributed to 71 per cent of deaths.

Cannabis continues to dominate the total quantities of drugs seized globally. In 2019, cannabis herb continued to be seized in much larger quantities than cannabis resin and cannabis oil. The largest quantities of cannabis herb seized in 2019 which totalled 3,779 tonnes were reported by the United States. The largest quantities of cannabis resin seized which totalled 1,395 tonnes were reported by Spain, followed by Morocco, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran.

Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2021

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