Global drug use situation remains stable: UN report

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Close-up of opium “farmer” scoring poppy seed pods to produce resin. UN Photo/D Gair

The global drug-use situation remains largely stable, according to a new report by the UN office on Drugs and Crime or UNODC.

Up to 200,000 people die every year due to illicit drugs, the agency says.

The release of the report coincides with the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking observed on 26 June every year.

The theme for this year is "drug use disorders are preventable and treatable."

As UNODC's head of research, Angela Me is in charge of a number of the organization's core publications, including the World Drug Report.

"In terms of the drug use we can say the situation remained quite stable with about 5 per cent of the population having used at least one type of drug and at least once in the previous year, and this percentage has been quite stable over the last few years. In terms of numbers, there is a light increase, but it is due mainly to the increase on the global population. The two drugs that we have seen increasing in terms of use since 2009 are opioids and cannabis. Other drugs have been stabilizing or decreasing."

New Psychoactive Substances or NPS like bath salts, amphetamines or artificial cannabis are synthetic drugs that are becoming a major public health concern.

UNODC warning stems from their increased use and the lack of scientific research and understanding about their adverse effects.

Polydrug use, the combination of prescription drugs like sedatives and tranquilizers together with an illicit substance, is also of particular concern.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’46″

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