VIENNA – About 5 percent of the world's population abused drugs at least once in recent years and nearly 30 million people could be dependent on narcotics to the point of needing treatment, according to a U.N. report released Thursday.
The annual report by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime also said the United States accounts for about 25 percent of drug-related deaths annually and death rates there continue to rise, reaching more than 52,000 in 2015.
The report, based on latest figures available, also noted the following:
— Of the almost 12 million people worldwide illegally injecting drugs, 1.6 million have HIV and 6.1 million are living with hepatitis C.
— At least twice as many men as women suffer from drug use disorders.
— Over 100 countries reported the emergence of 739 new psychoactive substances that change brain function and result in alterations in perception and mood between 2009 and 2016.
— Cocaine use in Europe increased by at least 30 percent between 2011 and 2016.
— Global opium production increased by a third in 2016 compared to the previous year, with improved poppy yields in Afghanistan the major factor.
— Heroin and morphine seizures were down in Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey, countries along the traditional Balkans route for drug smuggling over 2014-2015, but they were sharply up over the same period along the route through Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and via the Black Sea to Ukraine and Romania.