Drug abuse is an international menace. June 26 is observed as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNDOC). This day recognizes the impact of drugs on various facets of life like health, peace and development.
On Thursday, the World Drug Report of 2017 was released stating that drug abuse is a global issue and a lot needs to be done on the global front to get rid of this. “There is much work to be done to confront the many harms inflicted by drugs to health, development, peace and security, in all regions of the world,” said UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov.
The report finds that Hepatitis C causes the greatest harm among an estimated 12 million people who inject drugs worldwide. Out of this number, one in eight (1.6 million) is living with HIV and more than half (6.1 million) are living with hepatitis C, while around 1.3 million are suffering from both hepatitis C and HIV. Overall, three times more people who use drugs die from hepatitis C (222,000) than from HIV (60,000).
Doctors in Mumbai further say that the variant of drug has changed now. “Three years back, we had seen major opioid use. But now, we see a lot of them using ‘cannabis’. Particularly, this addiction is more in the age group between 13-30 years of age,” said Dr Sagar Karia, psychiatrist at Sion hospital.
Similarly, the drug report points out, “Typical buyers are recreational users of cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine, hallucinogens and new psychoactive substances (NPS). As new threats appear, including NPS spreading methamphetamine and NPS, old ones still continue to thrive.”
Professor Dr Yusuf A Matcheswalla, renowned psychiatrist and professor of psychiatry at Grants Medical College, JJ Group of Hospital says that cannabis and MD drugs are hot favourites at the moment, “Many teens start consuming cannabis when they are in the first year of junior college or so. It is a relaxation drug. As they start consuming it more often, they start losing focus completely.”
MD drugs on the other hand, give you a pseudo confidence. There are multiple variants of drugs available these days. Apart from nicotine or cigarettes, the use of all other drugs is definitely rising.” He further said that this is because of the easy accessibility, “Drugs are easily available. Even paan-bidi shops supply MDs and what not. Accessibility could be a reason for the rising levels of addiction.”
Interestingly, the report finds the harm that these drugs cause. “Around 190,000 people die due to illicit drugs every year. But the damage upon lives and communities does not stop there. Drug use damages health in the form of debilitating HIV, hepatitis and tuberculosis, while drug trafficking nourishes money laundering, and deadly terrorism,” read the statement of executive director of UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov on the importance of the day.
The two largest markets of cocaine use are North America and Europe, reads the report. “In 2016, global opium production increased by one third compared with the previous year and this was primarily due to higher opium poppy yields in Afghanistan.”
“The expansion of the cocaine market, such that from 2013-2015, coca bush cultivation increased by 30 per cent mainly as a result of increased cultivation in Colombia.”