Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.

Join

Subscribe or Register

Existing user? Login

Global health

Illicit drug users are on the rise, finds UN report

Worldwide an estimated 246 million people - or slightly more than 5% of those aged 15 to 64 years - used an illicit drug in 2013, up by three million over the previous year, according to the World Drug Report, 2015

Source: Shutterstock.com

A UN report finds that men are three times more likely than women to use cannabis, cocaine or amphetamines

Worldwide an estimated 246 million people — or around 5% of those aged 15–64 years — used an illicit drug in 2013, a rise of three million over the previous year, says a report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). 

The study says the number of drug-related deaths remained relatively unchanged at an estimated 187,000 deaths. 

But the report also highlights that more than 27 million people — or one out of ten drug users — is a problem user, suffering from drug use disorders or drug dependence. 

Of the problem users, 12.2 million injected drugs, and an estimated 1.7 million of those who injected drugs were living with HIV. 

The report says the use of cannabis and the non-medical use of pharmaceutical opioids has continued to rise, and notes that men are three times more likely than women to use cannabis, cocaine or amphetamines. 

By contrast, women are more likely to misuse prescription drugs, particularly prescription opioids and tranquillisers. In the United States, OxyContin (oxycodone) is one of the main prescription opioids that are misused. 

The Vienna-based agency’s report, however, says that only one out of every six problem drug users in the world has access to treatment. 

“An unacceptable number of drug users continue to lose their lives prematurely, often as a result of an overdose — even though overdose-related deaths are preventable,” it says. 

Gilberto Gerra, UNODC chief for drug prevention and health, stressed that drug users are a disadvantaged population, but are criminally prosecuted and put in jail. 

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2015.20068938

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

  • Paediatric Drug Handling

    Paediatric Drug Handling

    Written for new pharmaceutical scientists, this book provides a background in paediatric pharmacy and a comprehensive introduction to children's medication.

    £33.00Buy now
  • Physicochemical Principles of Pharmacy

    Physicochemical Principles of Pharmacy

    This established textbook covers every aspect of drug properties from the design of dosage forms to their delivery by all routes to sites of action in the body.

    £48.00Buy now
  • Prescribing Medicines for Children

    Prescribing Medicines for Children

    Prescribing Medicines for Children is designed to improve understanding on all aspects of paediatric prescribing, from the development of suitable drugs through to their practical administration.

    £60.00Buy now
  • Introduction to Renal Therapeutics

    Introduction to Renal Therapeutics

    Introduction to Renal Therapeutics covers all aspects of drug use in renal failure. Shows the role of the pharmacist in patient care for chronic kidney disease.

    £38.00Buy now
  • FASTtrack: Pharmacology

    FASTtrack: Pharmacology

    FASTtrack: Pharmacology is a study guide providing an account of drug action, as well as dealing with molecular pharmacology at a more advanced level.

    £25.00Buy now

Search an extensive range of the world’s most trusted resources

Powered by MedicinesComplete
  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Supplementary images

  • Worldwide an estimated 246 million people - or slightly more than 5% of those aged 15 to 64 years - used an illicit drug in 2013, up by three million over the previous year, according to the World Drug Report, 2015

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.