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Drug Addiction In The World

Prevalence Of Substance Use Disorders

American Relapse (Addiction Recovery Documentary) | Real Stories

Over 2% of the world population has an alcohol or illicit drug addiction

How common is alcohol or drug addiction?

In the map here we see the share of the population with a substance use disorder. Globally, just over 2% of the world were dependent on alcohol or an illicit drug.

In some countries its even more common. In the USA and several countries in Eastern Europe, more than 1-in-20 were dependent. In the USA, this was dominated by illicit drug dependence, whereas alcoholism was much more common in Russia and Eastern Europe.

Alcohol and drug addiction is more common in men

How does the prevalence of substance use disorders alcohol and illicit drug addiction vary between men and women?

In this visualization we show this comparison: the share of men with a substance use disorder is shown on the y-axis the share of women on the x-axis. The grey line represents parity: countries which lie along this line have equal prevalence in men and women. In countries which lie above the line, substance use disorders is more common in men.

Globally, alcohol or drug dependence was twice as common in men as in women: in 2016, 2.4% of men were dependent, versus 1.2% in women. Since all countries lie above the grey line, dependency is more common in men across the world.

Alcohol use vs. drug use disorders

Do countries with high rates of alcoholism also have high rates of other drug use disorders? Or does a high prevalence in one mean a low prevalence in the other?

The Rise Of Prescription Drug Abuse And Drug Diversion

As prescription drug abuse has grown in the US and Europe, the diversion of such treatments from legitimate sources has also increased. Ben Hargreaves speaks to an expert in the area to learn how drug diversion occurs, and how it can be countered.

Drug diversion is the channelling of prescription drugs from a medical source into the illegal market. The problem is growing as abuse of prescription treatments, such as opioids, stimulants, and sedatives also increases, making the diversion of such treatments increasingly profitable or necessary to fuel addiction. More specifically, the rise in the use of prescription opioids in the US and, increasingly, in Europe is also a major contributor to the issue.

The opioid epidemic in the US has been unfolding over the last three decades. It began in the 1990s with increased use of prescription opioids, with lawsuits from this period still being resolved to this day. From 2010 to 2016, deaths from heroin overdoses increased rapidly, as those in the healthcare community understood the risks of opioid painkillers and reduced the number of prescriptions. From the period of 2013 until the present, a third wave of the crisis struck, which saw synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, cause a greater number of deaths.

Why drug diversion represents a challenge

Known unknowns

What can be done

National Take Back Day

The DEA promotes National Take Back Days, encouraging consumers to hand over their expired and unused medications. Take Back Day was canceled in April 2020 due to lockdowns.

  • Consumers hand over 726,798.5 lbs. of medication on an average National Take Back Day.
  • An average of 4,540 police precincts participate in each DEA National Take Back Day.
  • There are an average of 5,472 drop-off sites.
  • Each drop-off site collects an average 132.8 lbs. of medication.
  • There have been 22 total National Take Back Days, which have collected 15,989,566 lbs. of medication.
  • Compared to the previous year, October 24, 2020 had 25.7% fewer drop-off sites but an 11.6% pound-for-pound increase in collected medications.

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Unodc World Drug Report 2022


UNODC World Drug Report 2022 highlights trends on cannabis post-legalization, environmental impacts of illicit drugs, and drug use among women and youth

Vienna, 27 June 2022

Cannabis legalization in parts of the world appears to have accelerated daily use and related health impacts, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime s World Drug Report 2022. Released today, the report also details record rises in the manufacturing of cocaine, the expansion of synthetic drugs to new markets, and continued gaps in the availability of drug treatments, especially for women.

According to the report, around 284 million people aged 15-64 used drugs worldwide in 2020, a 26 per cent increase over the previous decade. Young people are using more drugs, with use levels today in many countries higher than with the previous generation. In Africa and Latin America, people under 35 represent the majority of people being treated for drug use disorders.

Globally, the report estimates that 11.2 million people worldwide were injecting drugs. Around half of this number were living with hepatitis C, 1.4 million were living with HIV, and 1.2 million were living with both.

The report further emphasizes the importance of galvanizing the international community, governments, civil society and all stakeholders to take urgent action to protect people, including by strengthening drug use prevention and treatment and by tackling illicit drug supply.

Key drug trends broken down by region

** *** **

Reports Of Stimulant Abuse Around The World

What is the Most Addictive Drug in the World?

In the U.S., more than 11 percent of adolescents aged 4-17 are diagnosed with ADHD and treated with Ritalin. Those numbers help attribute to the fact that Americans consume more than 80 percent of the worlds Ritalin, according to the INCB.

However, the U.S. isnt the world leader in consumption per capita. That honor belongs to Iceland, followed by Norway, Sweden, Australia, Belgium, Germany and Canada, according to the INCB.

The INCB reports from around the world hone in on the increased rate of stimulant prescriptions:

  • Australian 2-year-olds are being prescribed medications containing methylphenidate at an increasing rate, and more than 6,000 Australians under the age of six are on stimulants.
  • The rate of Germans under the age of 19 diagnosed with ADHD increased 42 percent from 2006-11.
  • In China, four percent of middle school students use prescription stimulants.
  • In Brazil, 1.7 percent of students in their last four years or primary school and first three years of secondary school use prescription stimulants.
  • In Argentina, 1.4 percent of students aged 15-16 use prescription stimulants.

UNODC reports also indicate increased rates of prescription stimulant abuse in Asia. The non-medical use of benzodiazepines is a problem in Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore, but no exact statistics are available due to a lack of major studies in the region.

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Deaths From Substance Use

Substance use is indirectly and directly responsible for 11.8 million deaths each year

How many people die from substance use each year?To answer this, we need to define two aspects: what substances i.e. drugs do we include in this definition and what do we mean by a death caused by substance use does this include only direct deaths or also the increased risk of premature death from moderate, long-term drug use?

The Global Burden of Disease is a major global study on the causes and risk factors for death and disease published in the medical journal The Lancet.2,3

The Global Burden of Disease study identifies and provides estimates for substance use deaths through both pathways. The first is a direct death from a substance use disorder. A substance use disorder is characterized by meeting the criteria for drug dependence as defined by the World Health Organizations International Classification of Diseases .4 Alcohol dependence or illicit drug dependence are included in substance use disorders deaths from these disorders can be considered drug overdoses, with the terms being used interchangeably in the study literature.5

In the visualization we summarize the results of the Global Burden of Disease study on the number of deaths attributed to substance use: this is differentiated between indirect deaths as a risk factor from smoking, alcohol and illicit drug use and direct deaths from substance use disorders of alcohol and illicit drugs .

Drug Abuse Among Age Groups

While younger people are more likely to use drugs, the rate of drug use among people over 40 is increasing faster than it is among younger age grups.

  • The drug-related death rate for users over 50 increases 3% annually.
  • 75% of deaths from drug use disorders among users aged 50 years and older are caused by opioids.
  • 6% of drug deaths among 50-plus users are from cocaine and amphetamines, and 13% are from other drugs.
  • 35% of college students indicated they use illegal drugs instead of prescription drugs.
  • 93% of college students who use illegal drugs use marijuana.
  • 37% use cocaine and 36% use hallucinogens.

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What Is Substance Use Disorder

Substance use disorder is a mental health condition in which a person has a problematic pattern of substance use that causes distress and/or impairs their life.

SUD exists on a spectrum and may be mild, moderate or severe. It typically involves an overpowering desire to use the substance, increased tolerance to the substance and/or withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking the substance.

A person can have more than one substance use disorder at a time, such as alcohol use disorder and cocaine use disorder.

Substance use disorder can significantly impact your health, relationships and overall quality of life. It can also be life-threatening. Its crucial to seek help as soon as you develop signs of SUD.

What are substances?

Substances are drugs that have addiction potential. They can be prescription drugs or non-medical drugs and include:

  • Hallucinogens, such as PCP and LSD.
  • Hypnotics, sedatives and anxiolytics , such as sleeping pills, benzodiazepines and barbiturates.
  • Inhalants, such as paint thinners, aerosol sprays, gases and nitrites .
  • Prescription and non-prescription opioids, such as codeine, oxycodone and heroin.
  • Prescription and non-prescription stimulants, such as Adderall®, cocaine and methamphetamine.
  • Tobacco/nicotine, such as smoking cigarettes and electronic cigarettes .

While these substances are very different from each other, they all strongly activate the reward center of your brain and produce feelings of pleasure.

Us Drug Statistics Regarding The Use Of Depressants And Antidepressants Among Teens As Of 2018

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  • Depressants, opioids, and antidepressants make up to 45% overdose deaths, which is more than heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and amphetamines combined.
  • Until recently, African-American neighborhoods were the most prevalent territories when it comes to the use of depressants and antidepressants. However, they have been now overtaken by white rural communities.
  • 2 million users over the age of 12 have misused a prescription tranquilizer in their lifetime 4 times more than prescription sedatives.

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She Battled An Opioid Addiction

Presley has been open about her health struggles in the past, including her sobriety journey after suffering from an addiction to opioids.

She wrote about her struggles with addiction in a foreword for the 2019 book, The United States Opioids.

In it, Presley wrote that she became addicted after the birth of her twins in 2008.

You may read this and wonder how, after losing people close to me, I also fell prey to opioids, she wrote.

I was recovering after the birth of my daughters, Harper and Finley, when a doctor prescribed me opioids for pain.

“It only took a short-term prescription of opioids in the hospital for me to feel the need to keep taking them.

Number Of People In The Us Who Used Methamphetamine In The Lifetime From 2009 To 2016

12,908,000 people in the U.S. admitted to have used methamphetamine in their lifetime in 2009.

  • In 2010, the number of one-time methamphetamine users dropped to 13,060,000.
  • There was a decrease in the number of people who have used amphetamine within their lifetime between 2010 and 2011. The number dropped by 1,132,000.
  • Since 2011, we can observe a steady rise in the use of methamphetamine by people 12 years and older. In 2015, 14,533,000 people in the U.S. answered that they have tried methamphetamine at least once in their lifetime.
  • The 2014 results were not comparable due to methodological changes.

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What Are The Top 5 Most Addictive Drugs In The World

Evidence Based

According to one survey of experts, it was suggested that heroin, cocaine, nicotine, barbiturates, and alcohol are the most addictive drugs in the world. While the moniker of most addictive is debatable, its definitely true that these drugs all have significant abuse and addiction potential.

How Is Drug Addictiveness Measured

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The addictiveness of drugs can be measured using a variety of factors. Nutt and colleagues analyzed each substance based on physical and psychological dependency, physical harm and societal harms. Dependence was based on pleasurable effects, tolerance, withdrawal symptoms and the drugs ability to influence repeated use.

In the 1990s, Dr. Jack E. Henningfield of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and Dr. Neal L. Benowitz of the University of California at San Francisco each ranked the six most addictive drugs.

  • Rates of dependence and relapse
  • Level of intoxication

Henningfield ranked nicotine as the most addictive substance, followed by heroin, cocaine, alcohol, caffeine and marijuana. He said that heroin caused the second most intense withdrawal symptoms, followed by nicotine, cocaine, caffeine and marijuana.

According to Henningfields rankings, alcohol caused the highest level of intoxication, and it had the most serious withdrawal symptoms. Alcoholism can lead to delirium tremens, a severe form of alcohol withdrawal characterized by sudden and severe changes to the nervous system.

Both addiction experts found that cocaine ranked highest for reinforcement, which is a measure of a substances ability to drive repeated use based on human and animal tests.

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Her Son Died By Suicide At 27

Presley’s only son Benjamin died by suicide in 2020 at 27.

She was vocal about her grief, writing in an essay last August that she had been living in the horrific reality of its unrelenting grips since my sons death two years ago.

Ive dealt with death, grief and loss since the age of nine years old,” she wrote in an essay shared with People magazine.

“Ive had more than anyones fair share of it in my lifetime and somehow, Ive made it this far.”

Ukraine Minister Dies In Helicopter Crash Polar Bear Kills Two In Alaska Feds To Investigate Nursing Home Abuse

  • Lee Digital Content Center, The Associated Press

On this version of Hot off the Wire:

» Authorities say Ukraines interior minister Denys Monastyrskyi has died in a helicopter crash near the capital that killed at least another 14 people, including other officials and three children.

» The head of the United Nations says the world is in a sorry state because of myriad interlinked challenges including climate change and Russias war in Ukraine.

» A shooter stood over a 16-year-old mother clutching her 10-month-old baby and pumped bullets into their heads in a brazen attack in a central California farming community that left six dead at a home linked to drugs and guns. Law enforcement is seeking at least two suspects and there is a $10,000 reward for information leading to their arrests.

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Oscar De La Hoya’s Descent From World Champion To Cross

Former six-weight world champion Oscar De La Hoya will return to the ring against Vitor Belfort on September 11 having faced several battles since his retirement from boxing including alcohol and drug addiction

Oscar De La Hoya will make a long-awaited return to the boxing ring in September when he faces former UFC light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort in a historic bout.

The fight, between 48-year-old De Lay Hoya and 44-year-old Belfort – is set to be a sanctioned professional contest, taking place at Staples Center, Los Angeles over eight two-minute rounds at 180lb.

The boxer formerly dubbed as ‘Golden Boy’ has not fought for over 13 years, with his last action in the boxing world dubbed a ‘domination’ after he retired in the eight round against now boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, a contest which was largely seen as a passing of a generational torch.

And now after taking on the promotion of fights full-time with his label Golden Boy Promotions, he looks to set climb back theough the ropes following a rather dramatic post-fight career…

What Is Substance Use And Addiction

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Many people use substances such as drugs or alcohol to relax, have fun, experiment, or cope with stressors, however, for some people the use of substances or engaging in certain behaviours can become problematic and may lead to dependence.

Addiction is a complex process where problematic patterns of substance use or behaviours can interfere with a persons life. Addiction can be broadly defined as a condition that leads to a compulsive engagement with a stimuli, despite negative consequences.i This can lead to physical and/or psychological dependence. Addictions can be either substance related or process-related, also known as behavioural addictions .ii Both can disrupt an individuals ability to maintain a healthy life, but there are numerous support and treatment options available.

A simple way of understanding and describing addiction is to use the 4Cs approach:

  • Loss of control of amount or frequency of use
  • Compulsion to use
  • Continued substance use despite consequencesiii

How common is substance use and addiction?

Substance use is quite common on an international scale and statistics vary depending on the substance being consumed. It is estimated that nearly 5% of the worlds population have used an illicit substance, 240 million people around the world use alcohol problematically, and approximately 15 million people use injection drugs.iv

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What Is Drug Addiction

Drug addiction is considered a disease that impacts brain circuitry and behavior, and it is classified by an inability to control drug use. Addictive drugs act on the pleasure center in the brain, causing a shortcut to reward that, when repeated, can change the way a person processes information. Drugs addictive qualities may be enhanced by how good they make a person feel when using them and how bad they may make users feel when they wear off. Chronic drug abuse can induce drug dependency, which leads to withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings without the drugs presence.

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