• 200 Million People Worldwide Use Illegal Drugs

    According to a new study, roughly 200 million people worldwide use illegal drugs such as marijuana, amphetamines, cocaine, and opioids. That figure represents about 1 in 20 people between the ages of 15 and 64 using illegal drugs every year. Researchers also found that more developed countries had higher rates of illegal drug use. They point out that many people who use illegal drugs take more than one drug.

    The Los Angeles Times reports that globally, 125 million to 203 million people use marijuana, 14 million to 56 million use amphetamines, 12 million to 21 million use opioids, and 14 million to 21 million use cocaine. In addition, 11 million to 21 million people inject drugs. About 15 million to 39 million are considered problem drug users.

    Rates of illicit drug use vary around the world. Marijuana usage rates are highest in Australia and New Zealand (Oceania), with a 15% usage rate among 15 to 64 years olds. Opioid/heroine usage rates are highest in the Middle East with up to 1.4%. With amphetamine usage, Oceania has the highest rate, about 2.8% of all ages 15 to 64 years. Cocaine has a usage rate of 1.9% of US citizens aged 15 to 64 years, the highest cocaine usage rate in the word.

    The 200 million number cited not include people who use ecstasy, hallucinogenic drugs, inhalants, benzodiazepines or anabolic steroids — just one reason it’s likely a vast underestimate of illicit drug use.

    Because of the illegality of illicit drug use itself, the researchers pointed out that it is difficult to gather accurate and reliable data and statistics. They also emphasized that there is not one standard way of measuring illicit drug usage rates.

    Illicit drugs can have a wide range of  health consequences, including overdosing, accidental injury due to intoxication, as well as heart disease, mental disorders and cirrhosis. The major adverse health effects of marijuana are dependence, and probably psychotic disorders and other mental disorders, the researchers conclude. They say that marijuana is unlikely to be deadly.

    According to 2004 data from World Health Organization, illicit drug use accounts for 250,000 deaths worldwide, compared with 5.1 million deaths due to tobacco, and 2.25 million due to alcohol. But when looking at years of life lost, drugs came in the highest at 2.1 million (followed by alcohol at 1.5 million), since younger people are generally more susceptible to drug-related deaths.




    Categories: Substance Abuse

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