The biggest addiction facing the world may not be what you think


These translated to major health outcomes, according to statistical estimates based on data from the World Health Organization, the United Nationals Office on Drugs and Crime and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

Tobacco is the clear worldwide victor when it comes to drug-related adverse health effects, according to a comprehensive review of data on alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug use from the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, and other organizations.

With regard to illicit drugs, the researchers found that drug use was less common, but the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand had the highest rates of cannabis, opioid, and cocaine dependence. It also said that one in every five adults globally, has admitted to overdosing on alcohol in the past month.

Africa, Caribbean and Latin America, Asia regions, however, have little or no data on substance abuse and the associated health burden.

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The study, despite its limitations, emphasizes the risks of alcohol and tobacco use which present the biggest threat to health and wellbeing worldwide.

More results showed that only 3.8% of people use marijuana, 0.37% used amphetamines, and 0.35% used opioids in the past year.

Even with high numbers reported in Australia, the USA, and Canada, the researchers found that less that one in twenty people reported using cannabis in the a year ago, and those numbers were smaller for opioids or cocaine.

Europe's various regions report the most serious consumption of both smokes and booze. When looking at the impact of illicit drug use, the findings revealed the figure to be the lowest of the three, at 27.8 million DALYs.

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There's a measurement called "attributable disability-adjusted life years" (DALYS) - And the highest dalys were for tobacco (170.9 million life years), followed by alcohol (85.0 million).

Per capita, Central Europeans drink 11.61 liters of alcohol per person, Eastern Europeans drink 11.98 liters per person, and Western Europeans consume 11.09 liters.

Still, "Regular compilations of global data on geographic variations in prevalence of substance use and disease burden, such as this, may encourage the improvements in data and methods required to produce better future estimates", they conclude.

The team notes there are key limitations to the data, particularly for illicit drugs, but believe that assembling this information in one place will help governments and global agencies form policies to combat substance use.

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