Many of the articles we read and the studies we observe discuss drug and alcohol abuse in the United States. However, drug and alcohol abuse is a worldwide problem and has been an issue in numerous countries for centuries.
Research studies show that specific drugs used vary from country to country and region to region. The primary substance of abuse is alcohol throughout the world, and the three main illegal drugs of abuse are marijuana, opiates (mainly heroin), and cocaine. Drugs have been present in every culture throughout history, whether used for medical, religious, or recreational purposes.
The problem of drug abuse worldwide has dramatically increased during the past 100 years, as advances in chemistry and science have allowed new drugs to be mass-produced and created synthetically from old sources. Unfortunately, these new drugs that are refined and produced synthetically are often more dangerous, powerful, and addictive than any drugs in the past. While significant advances have been made in creating and using drugs for medical purposes, drug use for recreation and pleasure has increased sharply, resulting in a much higher occurrence of addiction worldwide.
Each year, smoking, drinking, and illegal drug usage kills 11.8 million people on average. This is greater than the total number of cancer fatalities. In addition, premature death from various factors can be increased by drug usage. The use of alcohol and illegal drugs, for example, increases the chance of dying prematurely from diseases and injuries such as suicide, liver disease, hepatitis, and HIV. In addition, tobacco use is a significant risk factor for lung and other cancers, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Every year, approximately 350,000 people die due to alcohol and illicit substance use problems (overdoses). As previously stated, most deaths from substance use result from long-term drug use, which raises the chance of numerous diseases and injuries: these are indirect deaths caused by the substances.
In 2017, well over 350,000 people died from substance use disorders: 185,000 from alcohol and 167,000 from illegal substances.
In some countries, drug overdoses are among the leading causes of death: in the United States, more people died from overdoses than from car accidents in 2017.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s World Substance Report 2021, cannabis potency has doubled over the previous two decades, while the number of teenagers who consider the drug as hazardous has dropped by as much as 40%.
Despite evidence suggesting cannabis use is connected with a range of health and other problems, particularly among frequent long-term users, this perception gap persists. Furthermore, most nations have reported increased cannabis usage during the epidemic.
The good news is that the increased use of technology during the pandemic has also prompted innovation in drug prevention and treatment services, such as telemedicine, which allows healthcare professionals to contact and treat more people.
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