Tuesday, October 03, 2006


According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
2006 World Drug Report:

The total number of drug users in the world is now estimated at some 200 million people, equivalent to about 5 per cent of the global population age 15-64.

Cannabis remains by far the most widely used drug (some 162 million people), followed by amphetamine-type stimulants [ATS] (some 35 million people), which include amphetamines
(used by 25 million people) and ecstasy (almost 10 million people). The number of opiate abusers is estimated at some 16 million people, of which 11 million are heroin abusers. Some 13 million people are cocaine users.

UNODC relies on the perception of the trends in individual countries by national experts. A global analysis of these perceptions suggests that the strongest increase over the last decade was for cannabis use and ATS, and at lower levels for opiates and cocaine.

About 28 per cent of the world’s adult population is estimated to use tobacco,which exceeds by far, the number of people using illicit drugs (4 per cent for cannabis and 1 per cent for ATS, cocaine and opiates combined).

Cannabis remains by far the most commonly used drug in the world. Cannabis herb and resin remain the most widely trafficked drugs worldwide, accounting for the majority of all seizures.

An estimated 162 million people used cannabis in 2004, equivalent to some 4 per cent of the global population age 15-64.

In relative terms, cannabis use is most prevalent in Oceania, followed by North America and Africa.While Asia has the lowest prevalence expressed as part of the population, in absolute terms it is the region that is home to some 52 million cannabis users, more than a third of the estimated total.

In the United States, the annual prevalence of cannabis use among the general population remained essentially stable in 2004. Cannabis use among secondary school students in the United States, however, continued to decline. Between 1997 and 2005 cannabis use among high school students fell by some 20 percent.

Since the late 1990s, cannabis use increased by more than 10 per cent at the global level. Though an estimated 162 million people use cannabis annually and it is produced in some 176 countries around the world, many basic facts about the supply and demand for this drug remain obscure.

The world’s biggest drug market is growing and uncharted

It is exceedingly difficult to document where some 4 per cent of the world’s adult population are securing their supplies. Cannabis can be grown in virtually any country, and is increasingly grown indoors in the developed nations. Unlike other illicit drugs, users can, and do, cultivate their own supply, and so production is diffuse.

The circumstances around cannabis consumption are no better understood. In most markets, cannabis is cheap. Consequently, the precise amounts bought and consumed remain vague to all parties concerned.

Cannabis is everywhere: There is no region in the world where cannabis is not the dominant illicit drug, and few regions where cannabis use is not growing. It is everywhere, and spreading.

[Edited highlights from the Executive Summary]

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