Global Illicit Drug Users to Rise 25% by 2050

According to the United Nations, the number of illicit drug users is expected to grow by the year 2050 by 25% most of which is believed to be within developing countries with growing urban populations. These numbers are in line with the estimated growth of the population in the undeveloped countries. Additionally, it is predicted that the growth in illicit drug use will occur primarily in women with the improved gender equality growth.

Prescription Drugs Abuse on the Rise

The United Nations predicts that cocaine and heroin usage will decline within both western Europe and North America while the drug problem shifts from developed countries to the still developing countries. It is believed that the cannabis consumption will remain widespread, but there will be an increase in synthetic drug usage and the use of prescription drugs for illicit purposes.

Reports from the United Nations show that 230 million individuals used drugs for illicit purposes in the year 2010. With an approximate 27 million drug users there are nearly 0.6% of the population worldwide using illicit drugs.

Worldwide Change in the Numbers

  • Production of opium rose by 62% in Afghanistan in 2010. This is an increase from 3,600 tons.
  • The global heroin usage rose dramatically to 7,000 tons in 2011. Interestingly, the use of heroin within Europe and the United States has remained the same if not reduced.
  • Africa and Asia currently account for nearly 70% of the global heroin usage. The world’s second largest poppy growers still remain in Burma with the opium leader being in Afghanistan.

Despite all of the predictions there has been a decline of 18% in the amount of coca bush cultivation, particularly in Colombia since the year 2007. The cocaine usage in North America has significantly decreased and Europe use remains the same and equal to North American and Canada.

Although there has been a decline in cocaine and heroin, the illicit use of synthetic drugs and abuse of prescription medication has climbed, particularly in the United States and Australia with their usage being more wide spread than all other drugs except cannabis. The death rate from the use of prescription painkillers like morphine has grown to four times their rate since 1999.

Link Between Urbanization and Illicit Drug Abuse Increase

There is a direct link between the increase in urbanization of developing countries and the increase in illicit use of drugs. As the urbanization of developing countries is expected to double from the year 2011 and 2050 and expected to stay the same the already developed countries, it is very likely that the illicit drug use will increase as dramatically in those developing countries.

Related Public Health Issues

Along with an increase in illicit drug use comes its cohort mortality. As the number instances of illicit drug use climbs so too will the public health issues directly related to those increases such as spread of disease and illness such as HIV increasing from the already 200,000 deaths caused annually by illicit drug use. It is therefore vital that the public health impacts and side effects of the increase be addressed with property prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and reintegration being major components for handling the increases.

Managing the Increase

This being said, it is reported that the war on drugs efforts that have been in play for the past several decades have failed leaving the world with a 380% increase in the supply of heroin globally. This staggering number may show that the past efforts have not been completely successful and the new increase within developing countries regarding illicit drug use is going to cause a great deal of pressure to find options for managing such increase within the growing populations.

There are many different types of drugs that are illicit or illegal and yet still readily available. Unfortunately, this means a great potential for deviant behavior, stealing and other crime, and drug abuse. There are many hard and illicit drugs such as heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine that are widely abused despite being illegal.

If you or someone that you know and love is struggling with an illicit drug addiction, then you need to realize that there is help out there. Illicit drug addiction can be serious, life altering and even deadly. There is alcoholism and drug treatment facilities in your local area that will allow for you to get the help you need and deserve.

Today is the perfect day to reach out and call for help. Give us a call today to find out what your treatment options are.