Is the field's historical record fading away?
Asking “How is it that an academic field can come so far and then erase itself?”, a dwindling group of substance abuse research librarians is seeking to call the addiction field into action before their organizations tumble into extinction.
A strongly worded editorial published online June 12 in the journal Addiction makes a compelling case for addiction field libraries’ role in furthering knowledge among treatment professionals and researchers, but the editorial’s appearance also comes with some disappointing irony. Since the first drafting of the article text more than four years ago, more libraries have shut operations as the article underwent revisions and its authors experienced other delays.
“Every three or four months, another librarian leaves our organization because another library closes,” says Andrea Mitchell, executive director of Substance Abuse Librarians and Information Specialists (SALIS), an organization with a current membership that is down about 60 from a level of 143 just a decade ago.
While addiction professionals can be fiercely attached to the historical context of their profession, it remains difficult to rally the field around the health of research libraries and databases at a time when many individuals assume that any document they need can be accessed for free somewhere online. Not so, say members of SALIS (http://salis.org), who represent libraries housed at institutions such as research centers, government agencies and alcohol industry operations.
SALIS members do have some well-known allies in their effort, such as William White, the nation’s most prominent chronicler of the field’s history. White, senior research consultant with Chestnut Health Systems, sent a comment to Addiction Professional in regard to SALIS’s effort; it read in part:
“The worst of our professional history will repeat itself if the lessons of our history are lost. The best of our clinical practice will erode if we lose the repositories of scientific and experiential knowledge upon which they are based. We risk becoming a profession unguided by memory, knowledge and wisdom.”
Mitchell says pivotal developments occurred in 2003 and 2006 when the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), respectively, discontinued their science library collection operations. At the time of NIAAA’s move, officials there suggested that maintaining the library generally represented an unnecessary cost because of the existence of online databases.
But as Mitchell and her co-authors pointed out in the Addiction article, NIAAA’s former ETOH database (ETOH is the chemical name for alcohol) indexed 55 addiction-specific journals, which they said is significantly more than what can be found on PubMed.
Along with the moves by the national research institutes, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in recent years closed its prevention library and cut funding for Regional Alcohol and Drug Awareness Resource centers that disseminated alcohol and other drug agency publications.
The editorial states, “More than 25 libraries or databases have closed in the past decade. Not only have we lost the information base, but the expertise of the librarians.”
This advocacy effort on the part of SALIS even was delayed in itself because of the struggles of some of the libraries. Mitchell herself was laid off from her job in 2008 shortly after commencing work on the journal editorial.
Move to digitize
SALIS’s present effort is focused on stepping up the pace of digitization of print material in the addiction field. “We did a survey in 2009 and found that only a few libraries were digitizing—fewer than five people had digitized more than 500 items,” Mitchell says.
SALIS is now working with the nonprofit digital library Internet Archive in an attempt to digitize 500 books in the field. It is seeking librarians who are interested in getting 10 books per library digitized at no charge, says Mitchell.
But she still believes government agencies ultimately need to play a key role in preserving the alcohol and drug field’s historical context. “We have to have government giving some money,” she says.
What would be the result of a field bereft of library resources? “How do you measure the effect on a scholar going out looking for stuff?” Mitchell asks.
Already she sees an information gap emerging. “It is even difficult trying to find NIAAA memoranda,” she says, adding, “There’s not a lot of ‘new’ happening in alcohol right now.”
A news release issued by SALIS in conjunction with the editorial’s publication states, “If action is not taken, important documents could be lost forever, especially the grey literature, i.e. unpublished reports and working papers, government documents, and programmatic materials, which tend to disappear when libraries are closed.”
SBIRT will be part of collaborative care initiative
An intervention to curb risky substance use will be a service option under an innovative federally funded initiative to implement a collaborative care model for patients who have clinical depression along with diabetes and/or heart disease.
The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is awarding nearly $18 million to a host of organizations led by the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement (ICSI), a quality improvement organization sponsored by nonprofit health plans in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Several other healthcare institutions outside of those states will be participating in this project as well.
While all participating sites will support development of a common model and training program to manage depression plus diabetes and/or cardiovascular disease collaboratively, many of the sites also will incorporate the Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) model to address potentially harmful substance use in this patient population.
According to a statement from ICSI, focusing on the substance use issue is of particular concern in Minnesota, which it says ranks sixth in the nation in the prevalence of binge drinking.
“We will spread an innovative model that provides better health, better care and lower costs—truly a Triple Aim Bulls-eye,” said Sanne Magnan, MD, PhD, president and CEO of ICSI.
Components of the care management model under this initiative include use of a computerized registry to monitor patient progress; use of a care manager to provide the individual patient with education and illness self-management support; and relapse and exacerbation prevention.
Rate of Bipolar Symptoms Among Teens Approaches That of Adults
The rate of bipolar symptoms among U.S. teens is nearly as high as the rate found among adults, according to NIMH-funded research published online ahead of print on May 7, 2012, in the Archives of General Psychiatry.
Nationally representative data indicate that about 3.9 percent of adults meet criteria for bipolar disorder in their lifetime, and 2.6 percent meet criteria in a given year.1 However, limited data exist on the rates of bipolar disorder among adolescents, despite strong evidence indicating that bipolar disorder tends to emerge in adolescence or early adulthood.
Kathleen Merikangas, Ph.D., of NIMH, and colleagues analyzed data from the NIMH-funded National Comorbidity Survey-Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A), a nationally representative, face-to-face survey of more than 10,000 teens ages 13 to 18. Using criteria established by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV), the researchers assessed teens for the hallmark symptoms of bipolar disorder—mania and depression. They also examined the rates of teens who showed evidence of mania alone.
The researchers found that 2.5 percent of youth met criteria for bipolar disorder in their lifetime, and 2.2 percent met criteria within a given year. About 1.7 percent reported having mania alone within their lifetime, and 1.3 percent reporting having mania alone within a given year. Rates increased with age—about 2 percent of younger teens reported bipolar disorder symptoms, whereas 3.1 percent of older teens did.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health
Teens Who Listen to High-Volume Music at Greater Risk of Substance Abuse
Teens and young adults who listen to high-volume digital music with ear buds, or who visit music venues such as clubs or concerts, are at greater risk of substance abuse than their peers who don’t engage in so-called risky music-listening behaviors, according to a new study.
Young people who listen to loud music with ear buds are almost twice as likely to smoke marijuana as those who do not listen to music on MP3 players, the Los Angeles Times reports. Teens and young adults who attend loud concerts and dance clubs are almost six times as likely as those who don’t frequent these venues to have had five or more alcoholic drinks in a row at some point in the previous month, the study found. They are also twice as likely to have sex without using a condom every time.
Researchers in the Netherlands surveyed 944 low-income students at two vocational schools, who ranged in age from 15 to 25. “This study highlights the need to regard high-volume music listening as a risk factor for risk-taking behavior,” they wrote in the journal Pediatrics. They suggested the findings could lead to practical interventions, such as handing out condoms and earplugs at concerts, or printing messages about alcohol abuse on concert ticket stubs.
Many Drivers Convicted of DUI Have Lifelong Struggle With Heavy Drinking
Almost half of adults with a drunk driving conviction said they had been struggling with heavy drinking for a long time, or had resumed heavy drinking after trying to quit or reduce their alcohol use, a new study finds. The study of 696 adults with a drunk driving conviction found 19 percent reported a lifetime of heavy drinking, while 25 percent had resumed heavy drinking again after at least one period of abstinence or moderate drinking, Reuters reports. The researchers write in the journal Addiction that there could be long-lasting benefits from using heavy drinkers’ convictions to get them into treatment.
The researchers found 13 percent had varying drinking patterns throughout their lives, while 14 percent had successfully cut down from heavy drinking to more moderate drinking. In addition, 21 percent had stopped drinking after some period of heavy drinking. Between one-fifth and one-third of chronically heavy drinkers met the definition for alcohol or drug dependence, or for mental health disorders such as depression.
Women were considered heavy or “risky” drinkers if they regularly had more than seven drinks a week, or four or more drinks a day. Men were considered risky drinkers if they had more than 14 drinks a week, or five or more drinks a day. Those who began risky drinking at age 15 or later quit at double the rate of those who began before age 15. While women’s and men’s drinking patterns were similar, women tended to begin risky drinking at a later age, and more often were able to quit.
One-Third of U.S. Treatment Applicants Report Buprenorphine/Naloxone Sold on Street; One-Fifth Report the Drug Is Used to Get High
“Diversion and abuse of buprenorphine/naloxone have steadily increased since 2005 through 2009,” according to data from a national post-marketing surveillance program* funded by the manufacturer. One of the indicators of diversion and abuse utilized by the surveillance program is a survey of nearly 19,000 applicants to 86 substance abuse treatment programs in 30 states. Both the percentage of applicants who reported knowing that buprenorphine/naloxone, which has been approved for opioid therapy since 2002, was sold on the street and those that reported knowing that the drug was used to get high increased from 2005 to 2009, reaching 33% and 21%, respectively.
In comparison, the percentage who reported that methadone, which has been used since the 1950s for opioid therapy, was sold on the street or used to get high has remained relatively stable over the past three years. The authors note that “the increases in diversion and abuse measures indicate the need to take active attempts to curb diversion and abuse as well as continuous monitoring and surveillance of all buprenorphine products”.
*Conducted for Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals by an independent contractor, the Surveillance of Diversion and Abuse of Therapeutic Agents (SODATA) utilizes several national indicators of diversion and abuse combined with a survey of applicants to substance abuse treatment programs and a survey of CSAT-certified physicians.
**Surveys were conducted at 86 treatment programs (both providing and not providing pharmacotherapy) from 30 states providing a total of 18,956 completed surveys from 2005 to 2009. While the treatment applicant survey was not a probability sample, the demographic characteristics of the applicant sample were similar to that of the national census of publicly-funded treatment admissions. The applicant survey does not estimate either the incidence or the prevalence of diversion/abuse, but it is an indication of changes in perception of diversion/abuse among a population likely to be knowledgeable about illegal markets through their own experiences, that of others, and direct observations.
Addiction Medicine: Closing the Gap between Science and Practice
CASA Columbia’s new five year national study reveals that addiction treatment is largely disconnected from mainstream medical practice. While a wide range of evidence-based screening, intervention, treatment and disease management tools and practices exist, they rarely are employed. The report exposes the fact that most medical professionals who should be providing treatment are not sufficiently trained to diagnose or treat addiction, and most of those providing addiction treatment are not medical professionals and are not equipped with the knowledge, skills or credentials necessary to provide the full range of evidence-based services, including pharmaceutical and psychosocial therapies and other medical care. This landmark report examines the science of addiction--a complex disease that involves changes in the structure and function of the brain--and the profound gap between what we know about the disease and how to prevent and treat it versus current health and medical practice. The read more and download associated files, please click here
Commentary: Taking a Closer Look at College Marijuana Use
Parents, college students, college officials and other policy makers: take heed. Recent findings from the College Life Study (CLS) may be the first to indicate that students who smoke marijuana during college may be risking their longer-term health, particularly if they increase their marijuana use during the college years or continue a heavy use pattern.
Amelia Arria, PhD, Principal Investigator of the CLS and co-author of the study, stressed the importance of finding out more. “These findings need to be examined in other college (and non-college) samples of young people,” she said. “Rather than assuming that marijuana use during college is simply a ‘rite of passage,’ we need to consider possible impacts on long-term physical and mental health and on health care utilization,” she explained.
Based on how often they used marijuana over six years, the researchers first divided the college students in this sample into two categories: users and non- or rarely-using students. Most (71.5%) did not use marijuana (or used only rarely). The 29.5% who did use were then sub-divided into five groups based on the onset, frequency, and progression of their marijuana use.
Analysis indicated that all marijuana using students—except those who rarely used—were at risk for several adverse health outcomes, including injury, illness,and emotional problems bad enough to interfere with day-to-day tasks; poorer overall health (self-reported); more symptoms of psychiatric problems; lower quality of life (health-related); and, three years after college, increased service use for physical and mental health problems. Non-users fared significantly better than most of the using groups. Students who were chronic users or whose use increased beginning in year three of college had the worst health outcomes.
A major strength of the study is that it takes into account health at baseline and a number of other variables including alcohol and tobacco use over time. No data were available to quantify the costs of these problems, but the findings should be of interest to policymakers and others who are concerned about the rising costs of health care services.
Stressing again that the possible link between marijuana use and adverse health outcomes needs more study, Arria went on to say that even modest differences in health outcomes should be a wake-up call for the students themselves as well as their parents. “For this (growing) subset of college-bound adolescents who use marijuana, college may be an opportune time and place to intervene before problems escalate,” she said. “Colleges should consider using assessment tools to spot trouble and do something about it—through college health centers and academic assistance programs,” she added.
The writer is Principal Investigator of the College Life Study and Director of the Center on Young Adult Health and Development at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, Department of Family Science. She is also Scientific Director of the Parents Translational Research Center at the Treatment Research Institute.
Prescription Painkiller Abuse Jumped 75 Percent From 2002 to 2010, Study Finds
A new study finds prescription painkiller abuse jumped 75 percent between 2002 and 2010. Men and adults ages 26 to 49 were most likely to abuse prescription painkillers.
Bloomberg News reports the study is the first to examine who is likely to abuse prescription painkillers, and how often it occurs. The study found more than 15,000 people overdosed on painkillers and died in 2009—more than double the number in 2002.
“Chronic nonmedical use is increasing and these drugs have very dangerous risks,” study author Christopher Jones of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Injury Center told Bloomberg News. “As sales of these drugs have gone up so has the unintended adverse events.” These events include overdoses, deaths, emergency room visits and addiction, he said.
The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, is based on data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which provides national estimates on substance abuse. The researchers found 3.8 per 1,000 people said they used prescription painkillers for nonmedical purposes for 200 days or more in 2009-2010, compared with 2.2 per 1,000 in 2002-2003. That represents a 75 percent increase. The study took population growth into account, the authors noted.
Men who used prescription painkillers for nonmedical purposes for 200 or more days annually rose 105 percent from 2002 to 2010. Among adults ages 26 to 34, the rate jumped 81 percent, the article notes. Among teens 12 to 17, nonmedical use of painkillers dropped 26 percent during those years. Overall, almost one million people reported using pain relievers nonmedically for 200 days or more in 2009-2010, while 4.6 million people used them for 30 days or more. The researchers conclude that “these findings underscore the need for concerted public health and public safety action to prevent nonmedical use of these drugs.”
Addiction epidemic: Americans’ problems with pain meds go back a century
More than 100 years ago, Dr. John Witherspoon, who became president of the American Medical Association, urged the medical community to avoid widespread narcotics use.
It “stalks abroad throughout the civilized world,” he wrote in a 1900 issue of the Medical Association journal. “(It is) wrecking lives and happy homes, filling our jails and lunatic asylums.” Now, 112 years later, prescription pills have become a staple of modern medical treatment, promising pain relief to millions of patients, but as rates of prescription drug abuse and pills-related deaths spike, patients, doctors and families are left to consider Witherspoon’s warning.
“For most physicians, it’s always been about the patients,” Dr. Lynn Webster, president-elect of the American Association of Pain Medicine, said.
“Our belief was if you were using it for the right purpose, it would help deal with pain and most people would not be harmed,” Webster said. “But, frankly, I don’t believe we appreciated … how harmful (the pills) could be to so many people.”
Around the turn of the 20th century, when Witherspoon was writing, doctors were dealing with another potential threat in the medical community.
Researchers had recently released a synthetic form of heroin known as diacetylmorphine to help address pain and cure morphine addiction. Within several years, pharmaceutical companies had released several versions and forms of the drug, including tablets, lozenges and liquids. But after several years, doctors found the drug, marketed as “Heroine,” to be just as addictive and damaging as morphine itself.
For this reason, doctors and medical professionals shied away over the following decades from opiate-based pain killers. Doctors, who feared the drugs’ addictive qualities, largely refused to prescribe the pills for pain treatment. And patients, who feared both the effects and the stigma of addiction, didn’t ask.
“People felt guilty if they used opioids for pain,” said Dr. Seddon Savage, director of the Center on Addiction, Recovery & Education at Dartmouth College. “People felt they were addicts if they had to use.”
Toward the beginning of the 1960s, however, that attitude began to change. Around that time, pain management began to emerge as an area of medical practice, and doctors and medical providers started to focus on hospice and palliative care for cancer patients and those in severe and chronic pain. “That was really when it started,” Savage said.
Over the decades to follow, medical research focused much more on pain treatment. Several national organizations formed, pushing pain treatment strategies, and doctors and hospitals started to prescribe opiate-based medications to treat acute and chronic pain.
“Until then, people feared the indignity of dying of addiction would be worse than having their pain controlled,” said Webster, of the pain medicine association. “That obviously evolved,” he said. “We began to believe that people who suffer from a great deal of pain, should not, and we came up with options to treat them.”
Doctors and medical professionals initially welcomed the drugs, applauding them for increasing access to effective pain treatment for patients. And rates of prescription drug use increased slightly over that time. By the early 1970s, national surveys reported 300,000 new users of pain killers, and by 1986, that number reached 500,000, according to a survey by the national Substance abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “Those numbers stayed pretty stable over time,” said Dr. Ruben Baler, a health scientist with the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
But, in the mid-1990s, the usage rates began to rise dramatically. Starting around 1992, the number of new users spiked from about 500,000 to 2.5 million in 1998, according to the national survey. Several factors likely contributed to the stark increase in usage rates, and it’s hard to pinpoint a single cause, Baler said, “You can’t draw a conclusion there was any single cause and effect,” he said.
But this timeline coincided with the introduction of several new prescription drugs to the market, other doctors noted. In the early 1990s, pharmaceutical companies released several time-released morphine pills, and in 1996, Purdue Pharma released OxyContin, the market version of oxycodone, another prescription strength pain killer.
Over the next eight years, the pharmaceutical industry exploded. Oxycodone sales jumped six-fold between 1997-2005, according to media reports, and, by 2008, the United States accounted for nearly half of the world’s pharmaceutical market, with $289 billion in annual sales, according to New York University’s Stern School of Business. The prescription pills allowed patients to take just one or two doses a day to relieve their pain, as opposed to prior treatments which were required more frequently, according to Savage, of the Dartmouth addiction center. But with qualities similar to heroin, cocaine or other recreational drugs, the pills also allowed non-medical users an easy high without dealing on the streets.
By contrast, these pills were now available in home medicine cabinets.
“It’s completely different,” said Dr. James Martin, medical director of St. Joseph Hospital’s emergency and EMS departments in Nashua. “People are able to treat their pain at home now, and that means the pills are available at home,” he said. “There are all kinds of challenges that come from that.”
The challenges have only grown over recent years. According to a 2012 study by Quest Diagnostics, prescription drug abuse causes more than 20,000 deaths each year, including 14,800 from opiate-related medications. In addition, hospitals reported more than 475,000 pill-related emergency room visits in 2009, more than twice the number reported five years earlier, according to the study. Such incidents include both patients and non-medical users alike, analysts said. Like users looking to get high, patients often can often become addicted and overdose on the pills, seeking to dull their pain, Webster said.
“The disease of addiction is about 50 percent due to our genetic makeup,” he said. “Because you have pain doesn’t protect you from that. … There’s always going to be a subset of the pain population who’s at risk for harm.” To battle this epidemic, health professionals, public safety officers and lawmakers across the country are looking to limit access to pills.
Police departments are holding drug take-back days, in which they collect extra pills from the public before they reach the streets. And, at the state level, lawmakers are implementing prescription monitoring programs, in which they monitor distribution of pills between clinics. Looking forward, medical researchers are working toward non-addictive medications that could replace opioids.
But, in the short term, the answer requires a greater focus on public awareness, medical analysts said. Doctors, public safety officers, teachers and other members of the public need to work more to educate the public about the potential risks and consequences of prescription drug abuse. “We need a lot more education about pain, we need a lot more education about opioids and we need a lot more education about disease of addictions,” Webster said. “There’s a perception out there that because these are prescription, they’re less dangerous. That’s not the case. We’re seeing that every day.”
Drug Abuse Kills 200,000 People Each Year: UN Report
Drug abuse kills about 200,000 people worldwide each year, according to a new United Nations (UN) report. Global treatment for drug abuse would cost $250 billion per year if everyone who needed help received proper care, according to the UN. Fewer than one in five people who need treatment actually receive it, according to the Associated Press. Crimes committed by people who need money to finance their drug habit, as well as loss of productivity, add tremendous costs for many countries, the report notes.
The UN estimates that about 230 million people, or 5 percent of the world’s population, used illegal drugs at least once in 2010. In the United States, female drug use was two-thirds the male rate, while in India and Indonesia, females constituted only one-tenth of those using illegal drugs.
The 2012 World Drug Report cited an increase in synthetic drug production worldwide, “including significant increases in the production and consumptions of psychoactive substances that are not under international control.” Overall, use of illegal drugs remained stable during the past five years, at between 3.4 and 6.6 percent of the world’s adult population. Marijuana was the most widely used drug.
Coca bush cultivation has decreased 33 percent over the past 12 years. Seizures of methamphetamine more than doubled in 2010 compared with 2008. In Europe, seizures of Ecstasy pills more than doubled.
“Heroin, cocaine and other drugs continue to kill around 200,000 people a year, shattering families and bringing misery to thousands of other people, insecurity and the spread of HIV,” the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Yury Fedotov, said in a news release. He added that as developing countries emulate industrialized nations’ lifestyles, it is likely that drug consumption will increase.
Congress agrees to add synthetic drugs to Controlled Substances Act
“K2” and “Spice” would permanently appear on Schedule I
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) commended House and Senate negotiators for agreeing on legislation to control 26 synthetic drugs under the Controlled Substances Act. These drugs include those commonly found in products marketed as "K2" and "Spice." The addition of these chemicals to Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act will be included as part of S. 3187, the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act. Schedule I substances are those with a high potential for abuse; have no medical use in treatment in the United States; and lack an accepted safety for use of the drug.
In addition to scheduling the 26 drugs, the new law would double the length of time a substance may be temporarily placed in Schedule I (from 18 to 36 months). In addition to explicitly naming 26 substances, the legislation creates a new definition for "cannabamimetic agents," creating criteria by which similar chemical compounds are controlled.
In recent years, a growing number of dangerous products have been introduced into the U.S. marketplace. Products labeled as "herbal incense" have become especially popular, especially among teens and young adults. These products consist of plant material laced with synthetic cannabinoids which, when smoked, mimic the delirious effects of THC, the psychoactive ingredient of marijuana. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, more than 100 such substances have been synthesized and identified to date. DEA has used its emergency scheduling authority to place in Schedule I several of these harmful chemicals.
Newly developed drugs, particularly from the "2C family" (dimethoxyphenethylamines), are generally referred to as synthetic psychedelic/hallucinogens. 2C-E caused the recent death of a 19 year-old in Minnesota.
The substances added to Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act also include 9 different 2C chemicals, and 15 different synthetic cannabanoids.
The American Association of Poison Control Centers reported that they received 6,959 calls related to synthetic marijuana in 2011, up from 2,906 in 2010.
Illegal Drug Use Around the World — 5 Things You Need to Know
Global illegal drug use is expected to rise by 25% over the next few decades as rapid urbanization, industrialization, and population growth in developing countries fuel the demand for illegal substances, the UN’s anti-drug agency said in its new annual report this week. The report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC), which underlines the fight against drug abuse with data on the consumption and production of illegal substances, also projects that developing countries will shoulder the burden of the global drug problem in the coming decades. Here are the highlights of the UN findings:
1. Roughly 230 million people have used an illegal drug at least once in 2010.
In 2010, 5% of the world adult population aged 15-64 used illegal drugs at least once. Problem drug users, who mainly depend on cocaine and heroin, make up an estimated 0.6% of the world adult population, amounting to roughly 27 million. Every year, approximately 200,000 people worldwide die from drug abuse.
2. The global number of illegal drug users will go up by 25% by 2050.
If the annual prevalence of illegal drug use stays stable at 5% of the adult population over the next few decades, demographic trends indicate that the total number of illicit drug users will increase by a quarter by 2050, which is in proportion to world population growth. Although the current rate of 5% might appear like a small proportion of the world’s adult population, if this rate continues, there may be some extra 65 million illegal drug users by 2050 compared to 2009-2010.
3. The increase in illicit drug use will be most pronounced in developing countries.
Drug use is linked to urbanization. With the urban population of developing countries expected to double between 2011 and 2050, they will see a marked increase in the demand for drugs. In other words, the burden of the global drug problem will shift to countries that are relatively ill-equipped to deal with it, explains Yury Fedotov, the UN anti-drugs chief. In addition, developing countries’ higher projected population growth and younger populations, the main consumers of drugs, will raise the demand for illicit drugs in those nations.
4. Two of the world’s most popular illegal drugs are cannabis (marijuana) and amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS).
There are an estimated 119-224 million marijuana users globally, making it the most popular illegal substance in the world. Amphetamine-type stimulants, such as methamphetamine (but excluding ecstasy), come in second with around 14-52.5 million users worldwide. As of now there are no signs that marijuana will lose its status as the illegal drug of choice, says the report.
5. More women will use illicit drugs.
While men who take illegal drugs still greatly outnumber women, the gender gap, especially in developing countries, will narrow as conservative, sociocultural barriers break down and as gender equality improves.
Read more: http://world.time.com/2012/06/28/illegal-drug-use-around-the-world-5-things-you-need-to-know/?utm_source=Join+Together+Daily&utm_campaign=8ea4e5efed-JT_Daily_News_Supreme_Court&utm_medium=email#ixzz1zCOJzNHE