The head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, (UNODC), Yury Fedotov says an estimated 187,100 drug-related deaths occurred in 2013.
Speaking on the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, Fedotov said although drug use is stable around the world, only one out of six problem drug users has access to treatment.
The World Drug Report also found that in some countries women who inject drugs are more vulnerable to HIV infection than men and the prevalence of HIV can be higher among women who inject drugs than among their male counterparts.
The number of new HIV infections among people who inject drugs (PWID) declined by roughly 10 per cent between 2010 and 2013: from an estimated 110,000 to 98,000, the Report says, adding that, however, many risk factors, including the transmission of infectious diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis C and the incidences of drug overdoses, cause the death rate among PWID to be 15 times higher than in the rest of the population.
The Report also found that while the use of opiates (heroin and opium) has remained stable at the global level and cocaine use has declined overall, the use of cannabis and the non-medical use of pharmaceutical opioids has continued to rise.
“Evidence suggests that more drug users are suffering from cannabis use disorders, and that cannabis may be becoming more harmful, as reflected in the high proportion of persons seeking first-time treatment in several regions of the world,” it said.
Demand for treatment has also increased for amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) – including methamphetamine and MDMA or ‘Ecstasy’ – and for new psychoactive substances (NPS), also known as ‘legal highs’, the Report noted.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi