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UN Report: Global Increase in Drug Use Disorders Over the Past Decade


UN Report: Global Increase in Drug Use Disorders Over the Past Decade

A recent report published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) discloses that the count of individuals grappling with drug use disorders has experienced a steep incline, surging by 45% over the previous decade. The global availability and affordability of drugs are on an upward trajectory. In 2021, approximately 300 million people worldwide used drugs, indicating a 23% escalation from the preceding decade. The prevalence of injected stimulant use is reported to be 18% higher than prior estimates.

The most widely used addictive substances were identified as cannabis, closely followed by opiates, amphetamines, cocaine, and ecstasy. The report highlights a boom in the production of synthetic drugs, which have radically redefined the illegal drug markets. The UNODC’s findings also link the drug trade to additional criminal activities and harmful environmental consequences, such as the degradation of the Amazon rainforest.

Importantly, it is pointed out that only one out of every five individuals suffering from drug use disorders is undergoing treatment. This underlines the urgency for improving access to treatment across the globe.

Main Takeaways

  1. The UNODC report shows a considerable global surge in individuals suffering from drug use disorders over the past decade.
  2. Drug usage, specifically injected stimulants, has seen an increase with nearly 300 million people globally using drugs in 2021.
  3. Drugs are becoming more affordable and available, leading to increased consumption and a rise in drug-related fatalities.
  4. The illegal drug markets have been significantly altered by synthetic drugs, including methamphetamine and fentanyl.
  5. The illicit drug trade has connections with other criminal activities, environmental degradation, and the financing of insurgency groups.
  6. Access to treatment for individuals with drug use disorders is severely deficient, with only one in five people receiving necessary treatment.
  7. The COVID pandemic has led to innovative treatment approaches, suggesting potential for improved reach and uptake of treatment services.

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