By Johannes Pleschberger • last updated: 06/25/2023 – 12:37
Around the world, more and more people are using drugs. According to the United Nations, the number of people who inject drugs is 18% higher than in the last study, 10 years earlier.
In Vienna, there has recently been a significant increase in drug-related deaths
“I take morphine, a secondary use here and there. In Vienna there are more and more people selling opiates. It’s already getting out of hand. Drugs are getting cheaper,” explains a 30-year-old morphine addict.
“The new ones who start to use drugs, I think they underestimate it, in fact they underestimate it a lot… So young people use and use and they don’t even know what they are using,” says another user who is only 13 years old.
According to the latest UNODC World Drug Report, 296 million people used drugs in 2021. This is 23% more than 10 years earlier. The most common addictive substance is cannabisfollowed by opioids, amphetamines, cocaine and ecstasy.
Even more dramatic is the increase in people suffering from drug use disorders: with 39 and a half million cases, the figure has skyrocketed by 45% in the last decade. Only one in five people receives treatment. But there is also a positive evolution.
“With the pandemic, many countries have adopted innovative ways of reaching drug users. And this innovation is showing that the number of people that can be reached is also increasing, and there are even new patients receiving treatment. This is a sign of hope.”explains Angela Me, head of data and analysis at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
Western and Central Europe remains one of the largest cocaine markets in the world. Although cocaine use plateaued during the pandemic, it now appears to be on the rise again. In addition, recent trends point to an increase in methamphetamine use in Europe.