World Report on Drugs in 2019


35 millions of people around the world suffer from drug-related disorders while only 1 person on 7 is treated

More in-depth research and more accurate data revealed that the adverse health consequences of drug use were more serious and more widespread than previously thought. According to the latest report on drugs in the world, published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), nearly 35 million people are reported to be suffering from drug-related disorders and would require services. treatment.

The higher estimates for 2017 result from a better understanding of the extent of drug use from new surveys conducted in India and Nigeria, which are among the ten most populous countries in the world.

The report also estimates at 53 million the number of users ofopioids, an increase of 56% compared to previous estimates and that opioids are responsible for two thirds of 585000 people who died as a result of drug use in 2017. Globally, 11 millions of people injecting Drugs in 2017, of which 1,4 million live with HIV and 5,6 million with hepatitis C.

"The findings of this year's World Drug Report compliment and further complicate the global vision of drug-related issues, underscoring the need for broader international cooperation to advance balanced and integrated responses to health and safety. criminal justice to supply and demand, "said Yury Fedotov, UNODC Executive.

Increased severity and complexity of the global drug situation

In 2017, about 271 million people, or 5,5% of the world's population aged 15 to 64 years, had used drugs the previous year. Although similar to the 2016 estimate, a longer-term view shows that the number of drug users is now 30% higher than in 2009. Although this increase is partly due to a growth of 10% of the number of consumers. World population aged 15 to 64 years, the data now show a higher prevalence of opioid use in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America and cannabis use in North America, South America and Asia compared to 2009.


The worldwide illicit manufacture of cocaine reached the record level of 1976 tonnes in 2017, an increase of 25% over the previous year. At the same time, the global amount of cocaine seized in 2017 increased by 13%, reaching 1275 tons, the largest amount ever recorded.


The synthetic opioid overdose crisis in North America also reached new highs in 2017, with more than 47000 opioid overdose deaths in the US, an increase of 13% over the previous year , and 4000 opioid-related deaths in Canada, namely 33%. increase from 2016.

Fentanyl, tramadol

Fentanyl and its analogues remain the main problem of the synthetic opioid crisis in North America, but West, Central and North Africa is experiencing the crisis of another synthetic opioid, tramadol. Global seizures of tramadol increased from less than 10 kg in 2010 to almost 9 tonnes in 2013 and reached the record level of 125 tonnes in 2017.

The report shows that one area in which the international community has had some success is the new psychoactive substances (NPS), as evidenced by a decrease in the number of NSPs identified and reported for the first time at UNODC.

Few structures giving access to care and no treatment

Prevention and treatment continue to be lacking in many parts of the world, with only one in seven people suffering from drug-related disorders receiving treatment each year.

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This is particularly striking in prisons. This year's report provides an in-depth analysis of drug use and its adverse health consequences in prison, suggesting that the prevalence of infectious diseases such as HIV, hepatitis C and active TB, as well as that the associated risks, are disproportionately higher the general population, especially among injecting drug users in prison.

Fifty-six countries reported having provided opioid substitution treatment in at least one prison in 2017, while 46 countries reported not having such treatment in prison. The use of sterilizable syringes and needles in health programs are much less available in prison: 11 countries have reported their availability in at least one prison but such programs have been confirmed as being absent in 83 country.

The report shows that effective therapeutic interventions based on scientific evidence and in line with international human rights obligations are not as available or accessible and national governments and the international community need to step up their interventions to fill this gap.

The World Drug Report and its contents are available at' next address

The 2019 World Drug Report provides a global overview of the supply and demand of opiates, cocaine, cannabis, amphetamine-type stimulants and new psychoactive substances (NPS), as well as their impact about health. Through improved research and more accurate data, he points out that the adverse health consequences of drug use are more prevalent than previously thought.


The most widely used drug in the world remains cannabis, with an estimated 188 million people in 2017.

Although there is an ongoing debate about whether the cannabis genus includes one or more species, the drug is currently considered to be monospecific (Cannabis sativa L) by the scientific community.

Produced in almost every country, cannabis herb consists of dried flowers that are usually smoked. For cannabis resin, which is the concentrated extract of the flower, it is mainly produced in some countries of the North: Africa, Middle East and South-West Asia. Cannabis is controlled under the unique 1961 Narcotic Control Initiative, as amended by the 1972 Protocol.

Over the last two decades, there has been tremendous progress in cultivation techniques of the cannabis plant. This has led to the expansion of domestic culture (indoors), which has reduced dependence on imports. Based on the cultivation of non-pollinated female cannabis plants, the production of indoor cannabis plants involves the use of controlled and genetically cultivated conditions
selected strains, resulting in an increase in the number of harvests, as well as yield and potency.

Mainly focused on reaching a high THC content, selective breeding has also led to the selection of varieties with higher levels of CBD.
In addition to the major transformation of the crop, the cannabis market has diversified to the point that it now includes a broad portfolio of products with different means of consumption, ingestion, potency and effects.

Cannabis supply: Culture and production affect all regions of the world

Unlike the production of other plant-based products, which are concentrated in a limited number of country units, cannabis is produced in almost all countries around the world. Cultivation of the cannabis plant has been reported to UNODC either directly or through direct indicators: (cultivation or eradication of cannabis and the eradication of cannabis production sites) or indirect indicators: seizure of cannabis plants, origin of cannabis seizures reported by other countries) by 159 country, covering 97% of member countries of the total world population, during the reporting period 2010-2017.

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World quantity of cannabis plants seized and cannabis plants eradicated, 1998-2017

Most countries have not implemented systematic surveillance systems for areas cultivated with cannabis. Thus, UNODC may not meet strict scientific standards and should be interpreted with caution.

The cultivation and production of cannabis affects all regions (in descending order of the estimated potential magnitude of crop and production)

  • Morocco, Nigeria, Eswatini, Sudan,
    South Africa, Malawi, Democratic Republic of Congo and Ghana
  • Western and Central Europe: Netherlands,
    Italy, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
    Northern Ireland, Spain and Belgium
  • South-East Europe: Albania
  • Eastern Europe: the Russian Federation and Ukraine
  • Near and Middle East: Afghanistan, Pakistan
    and Lebanon
  • Central Asia: Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan
  • South Asia: India and Nepal
  • East and Southeast Asia: Indonesia and the Philippines
  • Australia and New Zealand

Cannabis application

The global prevalence of cannabis use has remained stable in recent years, despite an increase in the number of users. Cannabis remains the most widely used drug in the world. UNODC estimates that about 3,8% (range: 3,3-4,4%) of the world's 15-64-years old population has used cannabis at least once in 2017, equivalent to some 188 million people (range: 164- 219 millions). The average global prevalence of cannabis use has increased during the reporting period.

Qualitative information on trends in
cultivation of cannabis (index: 2010 = 100),

In the absence of survey data that would allow for a robust trend analysis, it can be assumed, based on the perception of cannabis use, that it has increased in Africa and Asia over the past decade. of the 2010-2017 period. In addition, an increase in cannabis use was reported, based on qualitative information, by almost all African countries who returned the questionnaire for annual reports and 2016 2017 format. Similarly, qualitative information reported by many countries in almost all subregions in Asia suggests an increase in cannabis use in 2016 and 2017.

Evolution of measures regulating the non-medical use of cannabis

In March 2019, legal provisions authorizing the non-medical use of cannabis had been approved in Canada and Uruguay, as well as in 10 countries in the United States. The common feature of the legislation is that it generally allows the production and sale of cannabis products for non-medical use in the relevant jurisdictions. However, there are differences between the level of regulation and control of non-medical use and the different types of use implemented in different countries. Local contexts and dynamics are likely to have a different impact within each jurisdiction on the process of developing cannabis markets, the extent of non-medical use and other aspects of public health, safety and security. criminal justice.

The regulation of the cannabis market is similar to that of the alcohol market in some states

All states that have adopted measures allowing the non-medical use of cannabis regulate the recreational market in a manner similar to that of the alcohol market;
for example, by prohibiting the sale of cannabis to persons under the age of 21 or in possession of a driving license. Some states, such as Alaska, Oregon, and Washington State, have added cannabis to existing alcohol regulations. In California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada and Michigan, the cannabis market is regulated by the Revenue and Taxation Departments. The state of Maine is the only one where
cannabis regulation is overseen by the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

Full report HERE

Cannabis is believed to be the most widely abused drug in the world and at least 4% of the world's population aged 15 to 64 years reports having used cannabis at least once in 2017.

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