Substance abuse

Substance abuse/drug abuse is not limited to mood-altering or psycho-active drugs.

If an activity is performed using substances which are against the rules and regulations (as in steroids for performance enhancement in sports), it is also called substance abuse. Therefore, mood-altering and psychoactive substances are not the only types of drug abuse.

Using illicit drugs – narcotics, stimulants, depressants (sedatives), hallucinogens, cannabis, even glues and paints, are also considered to be classified as drug/substance abuse. Substance abuse often includes problems with impulse control and impulsive behavior.

Roughly 230 million people have used an illegal drug at least once in 2010.

There are an estimated 119-224 million marijuana users globally, making it the most popular illegal substance in the world.

Amphetamine-type stimulants, such as methamphetamine (but excluding ecstasy), come in second with around 14-52.5 million users worldwide.

    12 million to 21 million use opioids
    14 million to 21 million use cocaine
    11  million to 21 million people inject drugs.
    15 million to 39 million people are considered problem users.
    One in 20 people ages 15 to 64 uses illegal drugs every year.

World Health Organization reported that globally there were approximately;

    5.1 million deaths due to tobacco use,
    2.25 million from alcohol
    250,000 from illegal drug use.

The global number of illegal drug users will go up by 25% by 2050 that's roughly an extra 65 million illegal drug users.

These figures need to be taken with a large pinch of salt. Taking surveys of illegal activities is not an exact science, very little honesty can be expected on this issue. 

The plain fact is that drug use is extremely widespread despite the increasingly shrill assurances to the contrary from politicians and their agencies, anyone who wants to take drugs can do so, easily, and the head-in-the-sand approach of our leaders is not going to change that.

"All drugs where legal once upon a time and there was no public problem, no stigmatisation, no victimisation, no criminalisation, no epidemic and no mass health problem."

Humans have used drugs of one sort or another for thousands of years. Wine was used at least from the time of the early Egyptians; narcotics from 4000 B.C.; and medicinal use of marijuana has been dated to 2737 B.C. in China. But not until the 19th cent. A.D. were the active substances in drugs extracted. There followed a time when some of these newly discovered substances—morphine, laudanum, cocaine—were completely unregulated and prescribed freely by physicians for a wide variety of ailments.


Talk to Frank - Straight up, unbiased information about drugs 

0800 77 66 00 Free (Calls from mobiles may vary), Daily - 24 hrs 

Text 82111

Website: Talk to Frank

Alcoholics Anonymous - Advice on getting over alcohol addiction   0845 769 7555 Calls charged at local rate

Website: Alcoholics Anonymous

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