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Drug Abuse Kills 200,000 People Each Year: UN Report


Drug abuse kills about 200,000 people worldwide each year, according to a new United Nations (UN) report. Global treatment for drug abuse would cost $250 billion per year if everyone who needed help received proper care, according to the UN.

Fewer than one in five people who need treatment actually receive it, according to the Associated Press. Crimes committed by people who need money to finance their drug habit, as well as loss of productivity, add tremendous costs for many countries, the report notes.

The UN estimates that about 230 million people, or 5 percent of the world’s population, used illegal drugs at least once in 2010. In the United States, female drug use was two-thirds the male rate, while in India and Indonesia, females constituted only one-tenth of those using illegal drugs.

The 2012 World Drug Report cited an increase in synthetic drug production worldwide, “including significant increases in the production and consumptions of psychoactive substances that are not under international control.” Overall, use of illegal drugs remained stable during the past five years, at between 3.4 and 6.6 percent of the world’s adult population. Marijuana was the most widely used drug.

Coca bush cultivation has decreased 33 percent over the past 12 years. Seizures of methamphetamine more than doubled in 2010 compared with 2008. In Europe, seizures of Ecstasy pills more than doubled.

“Heroin, cocaine and other drugs continue to kill around 200,000 people a year, shattering families and bringing misery to thousands of other people, insecurity and the spread of HIV,” the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Yury Fedotov,  said in a news release. He added that as developing countries emulate industrialized nations’ lifestyles, it is likely that drug consumption will increase.

9 Responses to this article

  1. Dwight Frost / August 2, 2014 at 11:58 pm

    The fact of any drug use and/or abuse is medical not criminal, the injustice of locking people up for drugs is medieval in the lack of intelligence and humanity making for a reality of arrest one of the worse consequences of drug use. The illegal nature of drugs is one of the leading factors of their popularity making drugs an icon of rebellion and worse a sacrament of one’s belief system in response to draconian oppression by authorities. If one studies the laws leading to drug suppression and use back to the inception of aspects of such the leading causes being unjust and steeped in bias is apparent. This situation will not change any time soon, the thinking here will be ignored and the problem will continue with little change regardless of minor changes. One would be better informed in considering why we now have these problems with drugs being that they have existed for millennium, what is different other than the examples I have given?

  2. Prerana / June 24, 2014 at 5:18 am

    I am going through the trauma of having lost a friend to drug abuse and overdose. Drug abuse is a bigger problem in the medical community where the availability is much more and easier. I was not aware that so many people actually lost their lives to this, I wasn’t aware that his problem was so severe. It is something I will have to live with the rest of my life. He actually passed away a little more than a year after he started abusing these psychotropic agents. It is deadly and the authorities should take stricter steps to control the problem in the manufacture, supply and availability line. I will try to help others recover…hopefully it will be my sublimation.

  3. Avatar of KINGDAVID
    KINGDAVID / February 18, 2014 at 4:07 pm


  4. Avatar of karisma brock
    karisma brock / November 22, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    my mom was a drug addict for 12years and when she fount out she was going to have a baby she went off drugs a little at time and shes drug made me very happy to find out she was drug free so congrats mom….
    I was also wondering if u abuse pills your doctor prescribes how is it deadly where do they go after they have been abused??

  5. Joe Miller / July 4, 2012 at 1:52 am

    The majority of those 200,000 worldwide killed as the result of overdoses from the use of these now illicit drugs are the direct result of dosage and purity issues; all exacerbated by prohibitionist “drug war” polices and the black market conditions prohibitionist policies create.

  6. Avatar of Gordon
    Gordon / July 1, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Why do you mislead people by including marijuana in a listing of drugs resulting in causing death by overdose . One can find no evidence of death due to marijuana overdose. If we are ever going to resolve the probldem of the human desire to use potentially harmful drugs we must learn first to discuss the subjdect in an unbiasded manner using accurate , clinical, scientific and non-emotional terrms in the discussion of the subject. Are you part of the solution or part of the problem?????

  7. Avatar of Michele
    Michele / June 28, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    I don’t know about other counties, but I think it is a shame that Hillsborough County has a blanket sentencing guidline for Trafficking in a controlled substance IE oxycodone, and that a quantity can cause you the charge, “constructive possesion” 25 yr min. mandatory sentence, and most people are addicts that get this charge, and they feel locking you in prison for 25yrs is the answer!!! someone who has never been arrested before for any type of drug use, gets arrested in their early 40′s and facing 25 yrs in prison when it is obviously clear that this person is an addict has an addiction problem, and they don’t want to give this person a chance, someone who commits murder gets less time…conspiracy to commit murder gets less time than conspiracy to traffic in oxycodone. So when they say that 1 in 10 addicts gets the treatment they need I believe it. I really don’t see how locking someone away for 25 yrs benefits anyone, or teaches anyone a “lesson” You go to prison, come out a felon, with nothing, no where to go, no reentry programs, so you go back to what you know best and the cycle starts all over. The government pays to feed and house you for those 25 yrs. This is ridiculous to me.

  8. Avatar of David Macmaster
    David Macmaster / June 27, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    200,000 deaths from drugs worldwide a year is tragic. Yet, we tolerate 200,000 tobacco deaths a year of those with substance use and psychiatric disorders in the USA alone. Of course nicotine is a drug and nicotine dependence is a recognized disorder. It remains the “elephant in the living room” when it comes to treating substance dependence disorders and including it in our addiction treatment programs. It is time to change that, but those in addiction treatment leadership are stalling while hundreds of thousands die each year. Where is the leadership? Thank you CASA for being one of them.

  9. joebanana / June 27, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    How many died from prescription drugs? How much does it cost to incarcerate 2 million American’s? Is making a medical condition a criminal act the answer?

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