275 Million People Used Drugs Worldwide In 2020: UN

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The International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is observed on 26 June every year with the aim to create awareness about issues related to drugs and strengthening action and cooperation in order to make the world free of drug abuse.

International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking 2021 theme

The theme this year is “Share Facts On Drugs, Save Lives”. The theme promotes combating misinformation and sharing drugs-related facts as well as solutions for treatment to fight against the problem all over the world.

It aims to accomplish a vision of health for all based on science and highlights important statistics from the yearly World Drug Report.

275 Million People Used Drugs Worldwide In 2020

According to the World Drug Report released on June 24 by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime in Vienna, around 275 million people used drugs worldwide last year, while over 36 million people suffered from drug use disorders.

The report also said many countries saw a rise in the use of cannabis during the coronavirus pandemic. In surveys of health professionals across 77 countries, 42% said cannabis use had increased. A rise in the non-medical use of pharmaceutical drugs was also observed in the same period.

The report further noted that in the last 24 years, cannabis potency had increased as much as four times in some parts, even as the percentage of adolescents who perceived the drug as harmful fell by as much as 40%.

This development came despite evidence that cannabis use is associated with a variety of health and other harms, especially among regular long-term users.

“Lower perception of drug use risks has been linked to higher rates of drug use, and the findings of UNODC’s 2021 World Drug Report highlight the need to close the gap between perception and reality to educate young people and safeguard public health,” UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly said.

According to the latest global estimates, about 5.5% of those between 15 and 64 have used drugs at least once in the past year, while 36.3 million people, or 13% of the total number of people who use drugs, suffer from drug use disorders, the report said.

Globally, over 11 million people are estimated to inject drugs, half of whom are living with Hepatitis C. Opioids continue to account for the largest burden of disease attributed to drug use, according to the report.

The report said that drugs referred to substances controlled under international drug control conventions, and their non-medical use.

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