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Updated On: Sunday, 22 September 2019

UN Report Says Five Percent of Adults Have Used Drugs

Content by: South-South News

24 June 2016, New York, USA | South-South News — Around five per cent of the world’s adult population - or nearly 250 million people between the ages of 15 and 64 - used at least one drug in 2014, according to the 2016 World Drug Report. Published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the report noted that while that number is large, this figure has not grown over the past four years in proportion to the global population.

In releasing the report on June 23rd, UN officials linked the global drug problems to other issues facing the international community. UN Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, said, “As we all know, the production, trafficking and consumption of illicit drugs hamper global security, sustainable development and human rights — the three pillars of the United Nations. Drug trafficking and organized criminal networks undermine institutions and the rule of law by fueling violence and feeding corruption. In some countries, profits from drug trafficking are used to finance terrorist or illegal armed groups.”

Speaking at the launch of the report in New York on June 23, Eliasson also noted that the destructive consequences of drug use often hurt women, girls, and young people the hardest. “To be effective, and respectful of human rights, policy decisions related to drugs need to be based on reliable data and information,” he said, “The World Drug Report is an important resource for understanding where we stand in our efforts to address the illicit drugs problem. It can also help us deliver support and assistance to people suffering the consequences of drug abuse, including HIV and hepatitis.”

The report was released simultaneously in New York, Geneva, and Vienna. In Geneva, the UNODC deputy executive director, Aldo Lale-Demoz, noted that the report’s findings suggest that the number of people classified as suffering from drug use disorders has increased disproportionally for the first time in six years.

“A source of concern is of course heroin use, which seems to be increasing in some parts of the world rather sharply over the past two years and I refer specifically to North America and parts of Western and Central Europe and even in sort of individual countries such as Colombia. Heroin therefore continues to be the drug that kills the most people and this resurgence must be addressed urgently,” he said.

The report also investigated the links between drug use and resulting diseases. “We have analyzed a little bit more in detail the incidence of HIV infections not only drug injection but also the use of stimulants and that is something in countries such as Brazil and countries in South East Asia have been pressing for some time that there is an importance that stimulant use and other risky behaviors related to drug use can also increase HIV infections,” Lale-Demoz said.

Cannabis remains the most commonly used drug at the global level, with an estimated 183 million people having used it in 2014. The report notes that men are three times more likely than women to use cannabis, cocaine or amphetamines, whereas women are more likely than men to engage in the non-medical use of opioids and tranquilizers

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