PARIS, Jan 6, 2012 (AFP) - About 200 million people around the world use
illicit drugs, according to a study published on Friday in The Lancet.
It estimates that in 2009 between 149 and 271 million people used an
Cannabis users comprised between 125 and 203 million; users of opioids
(heroin and morphine), amphetamines or cocaine totalled 15 to 39 million; and
those who injected drugs numbered between 11 and 21 million.
Drug use is more prevalent in rich economies and in drug-producing regions
of poor countries and is often a major health burden, the paper adds.
"Cannabis use is associated with dependence and mental disorders, including
psychoses, but does not seem to substantially increase mortality," it says.
"Illicit opioid use is a major cause of mortality from fatal overdose and
dependence," it says, adding that injecting drug users faced specific threats
of catching HIV and hepatitis by sharing needles.
All three types of drugs seem to be associated with higher rates of mental
disorders, road accidents and violence, although information about this is
The estimate is based on data from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime
(UNODC), from national surveys and peer-reviewed studies into the impact of
Ecstasy, LSD, non-medical use of prescription drugs and anabolic steroids
are not included in the estimate.