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International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

26 June, 2021

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) counters illegal drugs, organised crime, corruption and terrorism globally. According to the World Drug Report, a global overview of the supply and demand of opiates, cocaine, cannabis, amphetamine-type stimulants and new psychoactive substances:

  • drug use is on the rise, with an estimated 269 million users in 2018 (5.3 per cent of the global population);
  • urbanisation is a driving factor in current and future drug markets;
  • increasing wealth is linked to rising drug use, but the poorest suffer the largest burden of disorders;
  • new potentially harmful opioids are on the increase, as is the non-medical use of pharmaceutical drugs;
  • synthetic drugs are replacing opiates in Central Asia and the Russian Federation and the methamphetamine market is growing in Afghanistan and Iraq;
  • cannabis use is on the rise in most jurisdictions where non-medical use has been legalised;
  • poorer people face a greater risk of drug use disorders;
  • the most used drug is cannabis, with an estimated 192 million people using this drug in 2018;
  • opioids were used by 58 million people in 2018 and accounted for 66% of the estimated 167,000 deaths related to drug use disorders in 2017 and 50% of the 42 millions years (or 21 million years) lost due to disability or early death, attributed to drug use;
  • more than 11 million people inject drugs, with 1.4 million living with HIV, 5.5 million with hepatitis C and 1.2 million with both hepatitis C and HIV; and
  • heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine traffickers have varied routes and continue to develop new trading patterns.

International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is to strengthen action and cooperation to free the world from drug abuse and to raise awareness of the major problem that illicit drugs represent to society.


Image: World Drug Report