World Drug Report 2021: 275m people use drugs, 36m suffer disorders

Salihu Ali, Abuja

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About 275 million people used drugs worldwide in the last year, while over 36 million people suffered from drug use disorders.

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The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) who announced this in it’s World Drug Report, also noted that in the last 24 years cannabis potency had increased by as much as four times in the world, even as the percentage of adolescents who perceived the drug as harmful fell by 40 percent.

The Country’s Representative,United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime UNODC Mr. Oliver Stolpe disclosed this while presenting the annual world drug report as part of activities marking international day against drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking.

The International Day against Drug Abuse and illicit trafficking which has the theme ‘Share facts on Drugs Save Lives’ is emphasizing the importance of strengthening the evidence base and raising public awareness, so that the International community, government, civil society, families and youths can make informed decisions, and efforts to prevent and treat drug use and tackle world drug challenges.

According to the report, “lower perception of drug use risks has been linked to higher rates of drug use”, calling for the “need to close the gap between perception and reality to educate young people and safeguard the public health.”

The country representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime said that “the current projections suggests an 11 percent rise in number of people who use drugs globally by 2030 with about 40 percent increase in Africa” due to growing young population.

Based on this number, Mr. Oliver noted, 11 million people are estimated to inject drugs with half of whom are living with hepatitis C.

Mr. Oliver Stolpe identified the emergence of drug market on dark web as overwhelming as the trend is upwards with a fourfold increase recently.

Rapid technological innovations, combined with the agility and adaptability of those using new platforms to sell drugs and other substances, is likely to usher in a globalized market where all drugs are more available and accessible everywhere.” Mr. Oliver said

The UNODC country representative expressed concern on increase in the shipment of illicit drugs on land, water ways and and private jets as well as the upsurge in the use of contactless methods to deliver drugs to end-consumers.

The world drug report suggest that, the the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic has brought increasing economic hardship that is likely to make illicit drug cultivation more appealing to fragile rural communities.

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