2015 World Drug Report: Access to Drug & HIV Treatment Still Low

2015 World Drug Report:  Access to Drug & HIV Treatment Still Low2015 World Drug Report:  Access to Drug & HIV Treatment Still Low

The 2015 World Drug Report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates that 246 million people - slightly over 5% of those aged 15 to 64 years worldwide - used an illicit drug in 2013 and 27 million people are problem drug users, almost half of whom are people who inject drugs (PWID).

An estimated 1.65 million who inject drugs were living with HIV in 2013. Men are three times more likely than women to use cannabis, cocaine and amphetamines, while women are more likely to misuse prescription opioids and tranquillizers.

Speaking on the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, (June 26) UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov noted that, although drug use is stable around the world, only one out of six problem drug users has access to treatment. “Women in particular appear to face barriers - while one out of three drug users globally is a woman, only one out of five drug users in treatment is a woman,” reports

 Health Impact

A stable yet still unacceptably high number of drug users worldwide continue to lose their lives prematurely, with an estimated 187,100 drug-related deaths in 2013.

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 PWID declined by roughly 10% between 2010 and 2013: from an estimated 110,000 to 98,000. However, many risk factors, including transmission of infectious diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis C and incidences of drug overdoses, cause the death rate among PWID to be 15 times higher than in the rest of the population.

Evidence suggests that more drug users are suffering from cannabis use disorders and the 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’.

Nearly 32.4 million people, or 0.7% of the world’s adult population, are users of pharmaceutical opioids and opiates such as heroin and opium. In 2014, global potential opium production reached 7,554 tons - the second highest level since the 1930s, mainly due to its cultivation increasing significantly in Afghanistan, the main growing country. The global seizures of heroin, meanwhile, increased by 8%, while illicit morphine seizures decreased by 26% from 2012 to 2013.