Within the US, all eyes are fixed on opioids. But around the world, every continent is different, while some share a similar struggle with an addictive substance. A new study released last month using records held by the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle have some surprising results.
Specialists from 6 different institutions spanning three continents, Australia, North America and Australia came together to share their local information reported in their respective countries.
“Alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug use are major global risk factors for disability and premature loss of life,” the researchers write in the report’s introduction.
The most commonly shared struggled was the prevalence of heavy alcohol use in the past 30 days, in all three continents studied. Following heavy alcohol use was tobacco smoking and then cannabis use, amphetamine, opioid and then cocaine use.
Over 15% of all data showed daily tobacco use and over 18% had heavy alcohol consumption using global data. In other words, an estimated one in 5 adults heavily drink alcohol within the past month, and one in seven smoke tobacco. Europe did have higher drinking rates than more of the world, but held lower amphetamine, opioid and cocaine consumption than the US, Canada or Australia.
The US and Canada had one of the highest rates of cannabis, opioid, and cocaine dependence (748.7 [694.8, 812.3], 650.0 [574.5, 727.3], and 301.2 [269.3, 333.7] per 100,000 people, respectively). Australasia (Australia and New Zealand) had the highest prevalence of amphetamine dependence (491.5 per 100,000 people [441.4, 545.5]), as well as high rates of cannabis, opioid and cocaine use dependence (693.7 [648.1, 744.4], 509.9 [453.7, 577.8], and 160.5 [136.4, 187.1] per 100,000 people, respectively.
Tobacco was the leading health burden of all the substances studied across the globe. Costing the human population nearly a quarter of a billion in disability-adjusted life years. Illicit drug use added additional tens of millions, but Europeans took on a proportionally larger hit. Mortality rates were highest in countries like Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Caribbean regions, that are typically low income and have little or no data on substance abuse. This lack of information is due to the fact that these countries have such harsh punishments for drug offenses and are in constant periods of social and political unrest. These low income countries are at a a heightened risk to widespread addiction taking over and without available resources, their health burden rates could increase significantly.
Sharing this information between continents can make it easier for governments and international agencies to develop policies to combat substance use.
Source : The Recover Newsroom