These drugs are a bigger global threat than opiates


Over the prior year pot, amphetamine, opioid, and cocaine use came in at 4% of the adult population, with majority way under. When looking at the impact of illicit drug use, the findings revealed the figure to be the lowest of the three, at 27.8 million DALYs. Globally, it's estimated that nearly one in seven adults smoke tobacco and one in five adults report at least one bout of heavy alcohol consumption in the past month.

Compared with the rest of the world, Central, Eastern, and Western Europe recorded consistently higher alcohol consumption per capita (11.61, 11.98 and 11.09 litres, respectively) and a higher percentage of heavy consumption amongst drinkers (50.5, 48.2, and 40.2 percent, respectively).

But the United States and Canada had among the highest rates of dependence on marijuana (749 cases per 100,000 people), opioids (650 cases per 100,000) and cocaine (301 cases per 100,000), according to study co-author Robert West, of University College London, and colleagues. These translated to major health outcomes, according to statistical estimates based on data from the World Health Organization, the United Nationals Office on Drugs and Crime and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

In addition, Australia and New Zealand had the highest rate of amphetamine dependence (491.5 per 100,000 people), as well as high rates of dependence on marijuana (694 cases per 100,000 people), opioids (510 per 100,000) and cocaine use (160.5 per 100,000 people). That total was 170 million from tobacco and 85 million from alcohol.

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And cigarettes and booze are no joke: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains that tobacco can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke by two to four times and lung cancer by more than 25 times, while also putting you at greater risk for several other forms of cancer. In 2015, tobacco and alcohol are estimated to have cost more than a quarter of a billion disability-adjusted life years overall.

Tobacco is the biggest killer: 111 deaths per 100,000 people, followed by alcohol at 33. Tobacco, they say, is the first.

But wide other swaths of the world - especially the developing world in Africa, Latin America and parts of Asia - do not have health and substance-abuse data, the paper adds.

"Better standardized and rigorous methods for data collection, collation and reporting are needed to assess more accurately" the disease burden from substance use worldwide", the researchers said.