Illegal drug use on the rise

  • 2010-06-30
  • By Ella Karapetyan

Drug addiction is treatable, not a life sentence.

TALLINN - On June 26, the world commemorated the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which serves as a reminder of the need to combat the problems illicit drugs pose to society. In 2009, the United Nations Member States decided to make further and decisive progress on the problem to, within a decade, control the illicit drug supply and demand. Many illicit drug markets have reached global dimensions and require control strategies on a comparable scale. In that context, there was a need to better understand these transnational markets and the manner in which they operate.
This year’s World Drug Report is a contribution towards that objective. It opens with an analytical discussion of three key transnational drug markets: the markets for heroin, cocaine and amphetamine-type stimulants.

The World Drugs Report 2010 indicated Estonia ranks in second place in Europe in terms of use of opiates. According to the report, Estonia closely follows Scotland, where 1.5 percent of the adult population of the country use opium-based drugs, including heroin. The report also showed that consumption of cannabis is also growing, which is used by 6 percent of the adult population.

Indrek Kalikov, syringe replacement project manager of the Aids Support Center, noted that experts have remarked on an increase in drug consumption among the Estonian-speaking population in particular.
The report shows that drug use is shifting towards new drugs and new markets. The report showed that there are signs of an increase in drug use in developing countries and growing abuse of amphetamine-type stimulants and prescription drugs around the world. The report also shows that the world’s supply of the two main problem drugs - opiates and cocaine - keeps declining. However, in the last decade, the number of cocaine users in Europe has doubled.

The World Drug Report 2010 exposes a serious lack of drug treatment facilities around the world. “While rich people in rich countries can afford treatment, poor people and/or poor countries are facing the greatest health consequences,” warned the head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The Report estimates that, in 2008, only around one fifth of problem drug users worldwide had received treatment in the previous year, which means that around 20 million drug dependent people did not receive treatment.

The head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) also called for health to be the centerpiece of drug control. “Drug addiction is a treatable health condition, not a life sentence. Drug addicts should be sent to treatment, not to jail. And drug treatment should be part of mainstream health care.”
World Drug Report 2010 was launched by the UNODC at the National Press Club in Washington. The group is a global leader in the fight against illicit drugs and international crime.

Established in 1997 through a merger between the United Nations Drug Control Program and the Center for International Crime Prevention, UNODC operates in all regions of the world through an extensive network of field offices. UNODC relies on voluntary contributions, mainly from governments, for 90 percent of its budget. UNODC is mandated to assist member states in their struggle against illicit drugs, crime and terrorism.

The three pillars of the UNODC work program are:

1) field-based technical cooperation projects to enhance the capacity of member states to counteract illicit drugs, crime and terrorism;

2) research and analytical work to increase knowledge and understanding of drugs and crime issues and expand the evidence base for policy and operational decisions, normative work to assist states in the ratification and implementation of the relevant international treaties, the development of domestic legislation on drugs, crime and terrorism; 

3) the provision of secretariat and substantive services to the treaty-based and governing bodies.