Quarter of a billion people worldwide use drugs: UN

22/06/2017 - 19:47 Published in News/General

About a quarter of a billion people globally used drugs in 2015, including 29.5 million people who suffer from drug use disorders such as dependence, the UN's World Drug Report said on Thursday.

According to the latest World Drug Report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), around 5 percent of the world's adult population used drugs at least once in 2015, adding, "Opioids were the most harmful drug type and accounted for 70 percent of the negative health impact associated with drug use disorders worldwide."

It stated, "Hepatitis C is causing the greatest harm among the estimated 12 million people who inject drugs worldwide. Out of this number, one in eight (1.6 million) is living with HIV and more than half (6.1 million) are living with hepatitis C, while around 1.3 million are suffering from both hepatitis C and HIV."

With about 40 percent of global heroin and morphine seizures in 2015 being made in countries along the Balkan route, which appears to remain the world's principal opiate trafficking route, the report said.

"While overall quantities seized on the Balkan route declined in 2015, an alternative branch of the route, through the Caucasus countries, appears to have been graining in importance in recent years. That route circumvents Turkey, where the recent increase in flows of refugees heading towards countries in the European Union may have pushed traffickers to seek other options," the report said.

The report said the scale of the harm caused by drug abuse is underlined by the estimated 28 million years of healthy life lost worldwide in 2015 as a result of premature death and disability caused by drugs.