(StraightNews.org) – The use of illegal and often highly hazardous drugs is skyrocketing all over the world. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reports that 296 million people are using drugs worldwide – a figure that has increased by 23% in a decade. The report claims that 1 in 17 people aged 15 to 64 had used hard drugs within the past year, while those with serious abuse disorders had exploded by 45%.
Among the drugs on the rise is cocaine, the use of which has risen to around 22 million. Approximately 60 million are using non-prescription opioids, which includes heroin, and 36 million use amphetamines.
The production of amphetamines has expanded and is now being processed in countries not previously known to manufacture the drug. Cocaine, previously noted for high levels of use in the West, is now growing in Africa, Asia, and parts of southern and eastern Europe.
“The world is currently experiencing a prolonged surge in both supply and demand of cocaine, which is now being felt across the globe and is likely to spur the development of new markets beyond the traditional confines,” the report stated.
The UNODC Environment Team also says the production and trafficking of illicit substances is contributing significantly to deforestation and other environmental concerns.
Meanwhile, the death toll from illicit drug use is at record highs in the United States.
Between 2020 and 2021, the Centers for Disease Control reports that overdose fatalities increased in almost every state, with an overall figure of 100,306 deaths. This was up from 78,056 deaths the previous year. Katherine Keyes, a drug abuse expert at Columbia University, said more people were taking dangerous drugs alone, leading to a rise in fatalities. There has also been a reduction in the availability of services aimed at helping addicts.
The number of people dying from illicit drug use has surpassed figures from car accidents and firearms incidents.
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