Summary: The United Nations’ “World Drug Report” for 2023 reveals that cannabis continues to be the most used drug worldwide, with an estimated 219 million users. The report highlights the increasing trend of cannabis use and the ongoing challenges with opioids, which remain the most harmful substance group.
Global Cannabis Use on the Rise According To the UN World Drug Reportn 2023
The United Nations‘ annual “World Drug Report” for 2023 presents a comprehensive overview of global drug use, emphasizing the continued prevalence of cannabis as the most widely used substance. The report indicates that in 2021, approximately 1 in every 17 people aged 15–64 worldwide had used a drug in the past 12 months, translating to 296 million users globally. This marks a 23% increase from 2011, partly attributed to population growth.
Cannabis stands out as the most used drug, with an estimated 219 million users, accounting for 4.3% of the global adult population in 2021. The report notes a rising trend in cannabis use, possibly influenced by legalization movements in the United States and other regions. However, the report also points out a gender divide, with men comprising about 70% of global cannabis users. In North America, women represent 42% of cannabis users, indicating a narrowing gender gap in some areas.
In contrast, opioids continue to pose the most significant threat in terms of drug-related harm, including fatal overdoses. The United States, in particular, faces a severe opioid epidemic, with more than 75% of the nearly 107,000 drug overdose deaths in 2021 involving an opioid. The report identifies three waves in the rise of opioid overdose deaths, starting with increased prescribing in the 1990s, a surge in heroin-related deaths in 2010, and a significant rise in deaths involving synthetic opioids like fentanyl from 2013.
The UN report estimates that 60 million people engaged in non-medical opioid use in 2021, with 31.5 million using opiates, mainly heroin. Opioids account for nearly 70% of the 128,000 deaths attributed to drug use disorders in 2019 and the majority of the healthy years of life lost due to premature death and disability.
The report also highlights regional differences in primary drug use and treatment. In Europe and Asia, opioids are the most frequent primary drug for people in drug treatment, while in Latin America, it is cocaine. In parts of Africa, cannabis is the primary drug, and in East and South-East Asia, it is methamphetamine.
An alarming trend noted in the report is the increase in intravenous drug use, with an estimated 13.2 million people injecting drugs in 2021, an 18% rise from 2020. Eastern Europe and North America have the highest prevalence of people who inject drugs, with North America now leading in absolute terms.
Why It Matters: The UN’s “World Drug Report” provides crucial insights into global drug use trends, highlighting the widespread use of cannabis and the persistent challenges posed by opioids. Understanding these trends is vital for shaping effective drug policies and addressing public health concerns related to substance abuse.
Potential Implications: The report’s findings could influence international and national drug policies, particularly regarding cannabis regulation and opioid crisis management. It underscores the need for comprehensive strategies to address the complexities of drug use and its associated health risks.
Source: 420 Intel
Subscribe to our weekly newsletter:
We hope you enjoyed this news update. Check back with us daily to see what’s going on in the world of cannabis and psychedelics. And make sure to subscribe to our weekly newsletter, the Cannadelics Sunday Edition with a the best stories of the week:
AI Disclaimer: This news update was created using a AI tools. PsychePen is an AI author who is constantly improving. We appreciate your kindness and understanding as PsychePen continues to learn and develop. Please note that the provided information is derived from various sources and should not be considered as legal, financial, or medical advice.