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

Further research and more precise data have revealed that the negative health consequences of drug use are 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 believed to have drug use disorders and require services. treatment.

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

The report also estimates that 53 million users ofopioids, up 56% from previous estimates, and that opioids were responsible for two-thirds of the 585000 people who died from drug use in 2017. Globally, 11 million people who inject drugs Drugs in 2017, 1,4 million of whom are living with HIV and 5,6 million with hepatitis C.

“The findings of this year's World Drug Report complement and further complicate the global view of drug-related problems, underscoring the need for broader international cooperation to advance balanced and integrated responses to health and criminal justice supply and demand, ”said Yury Fedotov, UNODC executive.

Increased severity and complexity of the global drug situation

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


The illicit manufacture of cocaine worldwide reached a record 1976 tonnes in 2017, an increase of 25% from the previous year. At the same time, the global amount of cocaine seized in 2017 increased by 13%, reaching 1275 tonnes, the highest amount on record.


The synthetic opioid overdose crisis in North America also reached new highs in 2017, with more than 47000 opioid overdose deaths recorded in the United States, a 13% increase from the previous year , and 4000 opioid-related deaths in Canada, or 33%. increase from 2016.

Fentanyl, tramadol

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

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

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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 with drug use disorders receiving treatment each year.


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

Fifty-six countries reported providing opioid substitution treatment in at least one prison in 2017, while 46 countries reported not having such treatment in prisons. The use of sterilizable syringes and needles in health programs is much less available in prison: 11 countries reported their availability in at least one prison but such programs were confirmed to be absent in 83 countries.

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 scale up their interventions to fill this gap.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, World Drug Report

The World Drugs Report 2019 provides a global overview of the supply and demand for opiates, cocaine, cannabis, amphetamine-type stimulants and new psychoactive substances (NPS), and their impact about health. Thanks to improved research and more precise data, he points out that the negative health consequences of drug use are more widespread 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 as to whether the cannabis genus includes one or more species, the drug is currently considered monospecific (Cannabis sativa L) by the scientific community.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, World Drug Report

Produced in almost all countries, the cannabis herb consists of dried flowers which are generally smoked. For cannabis resin, which is the concentrated extract of the flower, it is mainly produced in a few countries in the North: Africa, the Middle East and South West Asia. Cannabis is controlled under the Single Initiative to Combat the 1961 Narcotic Drugs Convention, as amended by the 1972 Protocol.

Over the past two decades, there have been tremendous advancements in techniques for cultivating the cannabis plant. This resulted in the expansion of domestic (indoor) cultivation, which reduced dependence on imports. Based on the cultivation of unpollinated female cannabis plants, the production of indoor cannabis plants involves the use of controlled and genetically controlled growing conditions.
selected strains, resulting in an increase in the number of harvests, as well as yield and potency.

Mainly focused on achieving a high THC content, selective breeding has also led to the selection of strains with higher levels of CBD.
In addition to the major transformation in cultivation, the cannabis market has experienced diversified to the point that it now includes a wide portfolio of product lines 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 products, which are concentrated in a limited number of country units, cannabis is produced in almost all countries around the world. The cultivation of the cannabis plant has been reported to UNODC either directly or through direct indicators: (cultivation or eradication of cannabis and eradication of cannabis production sites) or indirect indicators: ( seizure of cannabis plants, source of cannabis seizures reported by other countries) by 159 countries, covering 97% of countries that are members of the total world population, during the reporting period 2010–2017.

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United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, World Drug Report
World quantity of cannabis plants seized and cannabis plants eradicated, 1998-2017

Most countries do not have systems in place to systematically monitor the area under cannabis cultivation, therefore, UNODC may not meet strict scientific standards and should be interpreted with caution.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, World Drug Report

The cultivation and production of cannabis affects all regions (in descending order of estimated potential magnitude of cultivation 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: 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 around the world. UNODC estimates that around 3,8% (range: 3,3-4,4%) of the global population aged 15-64 used cannabis at least once in 2017, equivalent to some 188 million people (range: 164-219 million). The average global prevalence of cannabis use increased during the review period.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, World Drug Report
Qualitative information on trends in
cultivation of cannabis (index: 2010 = 100),

In the absence of survey data that would allow a solid analysis of trends, it can be assumed, based on the Perception Index for cannabis use, that cannabis use has increased in Africa and Asia over for the period 2010-2017. In addition, an increase in cannabis use was reported, based on qualitative information, by almost all countries in Africa who returned the questionnaire for annual reports in 2016 and 2017 format. Likewise, the information The qualitative reports reported by many countries in almost all sub-regions of Asia suggest an increase in cannabis use in 2016 and 2017.

Evolution of measures regulating the non-medical use of cannabis

As of March 2019, legal provisions allowing 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 authorizes 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.

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

All states that have adopted measures permitting 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 people under the age of 21 or in possession of a driver's 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 tax departments. The state of Maine is the only one where
regulation of cannabis 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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