UN Releases Global Drug Report

UN Releases Global Drug Report

Drug addiction is a serious problem. Not only can drug addiction impact an individual’s professional, financial, social and family life, it can also impact other aspects of health. Many individuals who struggle with drug addiction also have other mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety.

Understanding the scope of the drug problem on a national and global level is important in order to ensure that resources are distributed as needed to communities and regions that need treatment availability. It also helps countries evaluate the drug problem in terms of comparing their own strengths and weaknesses with other governments.

The United Nations recently released a report providing information about drug use around the globe. The report showed that drug abuse has leveled off in recent years, but there are still 200,000 deaths associated with drug abuse each year.

Using information from 2010, the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime stated that if all drug addiction was treated around the world, the cost would be approximately $250 billion to treat the problem.

However, the report also stated that the cost is currently far below that amount, largely because very few people seek out treatment for drug addiction. Only approximately one in five individuals requiring drug abuse treatment succeed in getting it.

There are additional costs associated with drug addiction, too. Crime associated with drug abuse, including those committed to finance the obtaining of more drugs, and a loss of productivity in the workplace, multiply the cost of drug abuse in many countries.

The UN’s annual report shows that approximately 230 million individuals, equal to about five percent of the population, used drugs at least one time during 2010. The report found that there were major differences between countries when it came to who uses the different types of drugs, and noted differences between regions.

For instance, females use drugs at a rate of about two-thirds of what males do in the United States, while in India, females use about one-tenth of what males use.

The report finds that its estimate of $250 billion to treat the drug abuse problem worldwide equates to about 0.3 to 0.4 percent of the global drug report (GDP). In some countries, however, the loss of productivity eclipses the cost of treatment. For instance, in the United States, productivity losses were estimated at about 0.9 percent of GDP.

Last year’s numbers show that the opium production around the world totaled 7,000 tons, which was down 20 percent from 2007. However, this total is up from 2010, when disease wiped out half of the opium harvest in Afghanistan, the biggest opium producer.

While the production of coca bushes was also down, the report notes that there has been a significant rise in synthetic production of cocaine-imitating products. A reduction in coca bush harvesting does not necessarily equate to lower drug usage.

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