UN Report Finds Abuse of Prescription Opioids and Synthetic Drugs on the Rise Globally

A new report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) finds that the abuse of prescription opioids and synthetic drugs are on the rise globally, while worldwide markets for cocaine, heroin and marijuana have declined or remained stable. The World Drug Report 2011 found the U.S. market for cocaine has experienced massive declines in recent years.

“The global drug threat has not diminished,” Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of UNODC, said in a UN news release. The report found that drug consumption results in about 200,000 deaths worldwide each year.

According to the report, despite significant declines in recent years, the largest cocaine market continues to be that of the United States, with an estimated 36 percent of global consumption.

Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy, said in a news release, “Today’s report confirms that comprehensive efforts to reduce drug use and its consequences have a tremendous impact on making our communities healthier and safer. Confronting the global drug problem – including the prescription drug abuse epidemic – is a shared responsibility that requires a sustained and comprehensive approach. It is not a job for law enforcement alone. That is why the United States is engaged in an unprecedented effort to emphasize drug prevention and expand access to treatment to supporting enforcement efforts that disrupt drug trafficking.”

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    August 16, 2011 at 6:50 PM

    Thank goodness the drug warriors are protecting us! 200,000 deaths a year? Why, according to WHO, that’s, um, around 8% of the deaths caused by alcohol and about 4% of the deaths caused by cigarettes. I want to chastise our government for not just missing the bullseye; they’re not even on paper.

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    Steve Westen

    June 27, 2011 at 8:29 AM

    Well I am glad to read that cannabis use has either stayed the same or lessened; even with all the additions of the medical marijuana dispensaries. The individuals that are going to get high are going to get high one way or another. We should offer them the alternative to using extermely addicting and extremely dangerous opioids and synthetic drugs (manipulated to be similar to illegal drugs, but made legal due to genetic make-up) by legalizing cannabis for consumption by responsible adults. On of the large reasons that alcohol is such an abused drug, is due to its legal status. If we were to legalize cannabis, we may be able to turn people from using alcohol, to using cannabis, which is 100 times over safer than alcohol or cigarettes for that matter. I would rather live in a world with a billion cannabis smokers, than a billion alcohol consumers (creating the likelihood of accidents, death, domestic violence and a plethora of other alcohol related problems in our society)

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