GLOBAL MENTAL HEALTH
The worldwide drug crisis is even worse than previously thought, according to the UN’s World Drug Report 2019 booklet, “Global Overview of Drug Demand and Supply.”
The number of persons who have drug use disorders and require treatment services is currently estimated at 35 million, up from 30.5 million, and the number of deaths resulting from drug use rose to 585,000 in 2017. Meanwhile, prevention and treatment efforts continue to fall short.
Following are highlights of the drug use and drug use disorders report.
Drug use and disorders continue to proliferate
• Worldwide in 2017, an estimated 271 million persons aged 15 to 64 years (5.5%) had used drugs at least once in the previous year, up by 30% from 2009.
• The use of synthetic drugs and the nonmedical use of prescription medicines have expanded along with the use of cannabis, cocaine, and heroin. Drugs are more potent, and potential combinations of drugs are increasing. New psychoactive substances have been synthesized, mostly stimulants, cannabinoids, and opioids.
• Nonmedical use of pharmaceutical opioids is a growing problem. The dramatic increase in opioid overdose deaths resulting from the use of synthetic opioids (eg, fentanyl and fentanyl analogues) in North America in recent years continued in 2017. The market for the nonmedical use of tramadol continues to grow in other world regions.
• About 35 million of the estimated 271 million past-year users of any drug in 2017, or close to 13%, are estimated to have drug use disorders.
1. Global Overview of Drug Demand and Supply. World Drug Report 2019 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.19.XI.8). Accessed July 1, 2019.