International Day against Drug Abuse

The COVID-19 epidemic has been a difficult period for individuals from many walks of life throughout the world. As a result, the UNODC's results in the context of the epidemic are noteworthy.

International Day against Drug Abuse


Drug addiction is a global problem that mostly affects young people. What may begin as a harmless recreational usage or a side effect of self-medication soon escalates into a life-threatening addiction to dangerous chemical substances with long-term negative consequences.

Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, the United Nations Office on Narcotics and Crime (UNODC) issued a study aimed at drawing attention to the growing use of drugs like cannabis among teenagers. The study was released two days before the 26th International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. It reveals that over the last decade, drug-related fatalities have nearly doubled. Furthermore, persons injecting themselves with hazardous drugs accounted for 10% of HIV infections in 2019.

Important points from the World Drug Report 2021

  • According to the UN study, about 275 million individuals took drugs globally in the previous year, when the COVID-19 epidemic started in the first few months of 2020. Drug use problems affected 36 million persons out of the total population.
  • Drug use disorders affect 13% of all drug users, according to the research, with opioids continuing to be the leading cause of disease associated with drug use. Over the last two decades, however, the availability of prescription opioids used to treat patients with opioid use problems has expanded.
  • The research also highlighted the dark web's rapidly expanding drug marketplaces. Despite the fact that the craze began barely a decade ago, it is already worth at least $315 million in yearly sales, according to the report.

The influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on drug usage

While the exact impact of COVID-19 on drug problems is unknown, the study shows that the pandemic has resulted in increased economic hardship, making illegal drug production more enticing to vulnerable rural populations.

The research stated, "The social effect of the pandemic - causing an increase in inequality, poverty, and mental health problems, particularly among already vulnerable groups – reflect elements that might drive more individuals into drug use."

The 2021 Globe Pharma Report reported that drug markets throughout the world had resumed full operations after being affected by the COVID-19 epidemic at the start of 2020.

"Drug markets' resilience throughout the epidemic has proven once again traffickers' capacity to adapt swiftly to changing settings and situations," according to the research.

In addition to cannabis, the study warned that a growing cocaine market in Europe is unlikely since cocaine supply chains are "diversifying, pushing costs down and quality up."

Despite the challenges posed by the epidemic in attempts to prevent drug misuse, according to the UN study, the growth of telemedicine services has assisted healthcare personnel in reaching out to drug users for counseling and early evaluations.

Cannabis: The new toxin of choice is cannabis

  • The potency of cannabis has grown fourfold in the previous 24 years, according to the research.
  • Furthermore, it was reported that the percentage of teenagers who thought the medication was dangerous decreased by as much as 40% in the United States and 25% in Europe. "Despite evidence indicating cannabis use is linked to a range of health and other problems, particularly among frequent long-term users," says the report.
  • The usage of cannabis rose during the COVID-19 epidemic, according to 42% of healthcare experts polled in 77 countries.

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