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Australia, New Zealand Are World’s Largest Users Of Cannabis & Amphetamines

Australia and New Zealand have the highest rates of cannabis and amphetamine use in the world, according to comprehensive research on illicit drug use.

| January 16, 2012 | Health

AsianScientist (Jan. 16, 2012) - Australia and New Zealand have the highest rates of cannabis and amphetamine use in the world, says a three-part series on illicit drug use published in The Lancet.

Around 200 million people use illicit drugs worldwide each year, with the highest use in high-income countries, where drug-related burden of disease appears similar to that caused by alcohol.

According to estimates made by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), cannabis use appears to be highest in Oceania - Australia and New Zealand - with up to 15 percent of 15-64 year olds using the drug.

For amphetamines, again Oceania came out highest with up to 2.8 percent of this age group using drugs such as speed and crystal meth (but not including ecstasy), and cocaine use was highest in North America (1.9 percent).

Drug use is also an health and economic burden in Oceania, causing a loss of productivity and death.

In Australia, illicit drugs are responsible for 2.0 percent of years lost due to disability (DALYs), compared with 2.3 percent for alcohol and 7.8 percent for tobacco. Illicit drugs also caused 1.3 percent of all deaths, compared to 0.8 percent for alcohol and 11.7 percent for tobacco.

The authors highlight, however, that the accuracy of estimates is undermined due to the illegality of these drugs, and that policy makers will need access to better data for good policy responses to be made.

The three-article series can be found at: The Lancet Addiction Series (2012).


Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

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