Heroin Abuse and Production Trends Across the Globe
Heroin abuse has risen across the demographics. Global opium production increased by 65% between 2016 and 2017. In 2015, an estimated 15 million individuals were dependent on heroin.
Prevalence of Heroin Use Compared to Other Illicit Drugs
UNODC World Drug Report (2017) ranked opioids at 3rd place with 16.8 million people dependent users. Out of the 16.8 million, 15 million abused heroin.
Of the commonly abused drugs, opioids are the most harmful and account for 70% of drug use disorders.
Levels of Heroin Dependence Across Regions
Statistics from UNODC (2010) report heroin trends as follows.
High-income North America region reported the highest level of heroin addiction. 650.0 individuals per 100,000 people were dependent on heroin.
Heroin abuse was lowest in western, eastern and central sub-Saharan Africa.
Among the five European Union population giants, Spain and Italy have repeatedly shown signs of a decline in heroin addiction.
The Czech Republic has constantly shown a significant statistical increase in heroin addiction.
The Russian Federation was the leader in heroin consumption at 70 metric tons per year as per 2008 UNODC statistics.
Despite its proximity to the world’s leading heroin producer, the Islamic Republic of Iran listed reasonably low rates of heroin consumption in 2008.
Who are the Giant Opium Producers and Suppliers in the World?
Afghanistan is the world’s leading opium poppy producer. She dominates the world market by producing 93% of heroin existing in the market. Mexico is the number one supplier of heroin to the US. In 2008, opium production in Mexico rose by 120%. This opium has the potential of producing 30-40 metric tons of heroin.
Heroin Abuse Across Gender and Age
Both men and women abuse heroin heavily. Statistics show that the number of women who abuse heroin grew 100 fold between 2002 and 2013 in the US alone. This trend is worrying because heroin use during pregnancy can result in neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS)
The number of babies born with NAS has grown fivefold between 2000 and 2012. Every 25 minutes, an infant is born suffering from neonatal abstinence syndrome.
According to data, the average initial age of heroin use was 24.5 years in 2013.
Heroin Overdose Deaths
Heroin overdose deaths have escalated. In 2015, opioid use disorders were responsible for 12.9 million deaths worldwide. Since the onset of the opioid epidemic, a half a million Americans have died of drug poisoning. Annual deaths due to drug poisoning now exceed gun violence deaths, car accidents deaths and even the HIV epidemic of the 1990s.
There was a substantial statistical rise in heroin poisoning deaths by 286% in the US between 2002 and 2013. Almost 15,500 Americans died of heroin overdose in 2016.
In Europe, 79% of heroin overdose deaths are men.
Substance use related mortality is highest in Eastern Europe at 23.7 deaths per 100,000 deaths. According to the World Drug Report (2017), opioids were the most dangerous drugs and were responsible for 70% of drug use disorders globally.
Data on heroin overdose deaths and heroin dependence is alarming. Heroin is a menace that must be controlled.
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