Vienna - 585,000 people died worldwide in 2017 because of their drug use and related illnesses. Experts from the UN Office for the Fight against Drugs and Crime () said in Vienna today.
According to the one that also relates to 2017, 271 million people around the world use drugs such as cannabis, cocaine, opium or synthetic substances. Compared to 2009, the number of drug users has increased by 30 percent. 5.5 percent of the world population between the ages of 15 and 64 would have used drugs in 2017.
The most commonly used drug remains cannabis. An estimated 188 million people use hashish, according to the UN. The drug fighters have achieved some success in the field of designer drugs. The number of new substances has declined and, in general, the new psychoactive substances (NPS) did not play the role feared some time ago.
The number of drug addicts who need medical treatment is significantly from around 30 to 35 Millions increased. This is consequence of new surveys from the particularly populous countries Nigeria and India, announced the United Nations (UN) when the World Drugs Report was presented. Due to the new findings on Nigeria and India, the increase in users of opioids with an increase of 56 percent compared to the previous year is particularly dramatic. This includes heroin and synthetic substances.
"Heroin is back," said UN expert Angela Me. In addition, the illegal production of cocaine has reached an all-time high of almost 2,000 tons. Colombia remains the most important country for production. The United States and Canada are reportedly experiencing one of the deadliest drug crises. In the United States, according to the 2017 UN report, record 70,000 people died from drug overdoses, 47,600 from opioid overdoses alone. "Overdoses have reached epidemic proportions," said Me. The focus is on synthetic drugs such as fentanyl and similar substances.
At the same time, the use of the opioid tramadol is increasing significantly in large parts of Africa. Within few years, the amount confiscated increased from few kilograms to 215 tons. This pain reliever, which is important in itself, is produced, for example, in drug laboratories in Nigeria with high concentration specifically for the illegal non-medical market. According to the UN, four million people in Africa's most populous country take tramadol for reasons of addiction.
The example shows the fine line that society is walking on. "It's important that people who need opioids for medical reasons have access to them," Me said.In the USA and Canada, however, the substances are very easily available. The extensive access to pain pills without any urgent need is one of the reasons why millions of people are now dependent on opioids, according to Me.
The UN complains that statistically only one in seven drug addicts with severe health disorders is treated . This applies above all to the situation in prisons, where there are hardly any preventive measures to reduce the risk of infection with HIV, hepatitis C or tuberculosis. Only eleven countries have at least one prison where clean hypodermic needles are available. 83 countries, however, do not even offer such preventive measure.