The UN Office of Drugs and Crime has released its 2022 World Drug Report, showing increased drug use worldwide and accelerated daily use (and related health impacts) in parts of the world where cannabis has been legalised.
Here are the key findings from the 2022 World Drug Report:
Approx. 284 million people aged 15-64 used drugs worldwide in 2020, a 26 per cent increase over the previous decade
Cannabis legalisation in parts of the world appears to have accelerated daily use and related health impacts
Cannabis legalisation in North America appears to have increased daily cannabis use, especially potent cannabis products and particularly among young adults.
Associated increases in people with psychiatric disorders, suicides and hospitalisations have also been reported
Record rises in the manufacturing of cocaine, growing 11 percent
1.2 million people worldwide were injecting drugs
Trafficking of methamphetamine continues to expand geographically, especially in South East Asia (up by 30 percent)
Women remain in the minority of drug users globally yet tend to increase their rate of drug consumption and progress to drug use disorders more rapidly than men do. Women now represent an estimated 45-49 per cent of users of amphetamines and non-medical users of pharmaceutical stimulants, pharmaceutical opioids, sedatives, and tranquillisers.
Increased drug use also creates negative outcomes for the environment. Key findings include that the carbon footprint of indoor cannabis is between 16 and 100 times more than outdoor cannabis on average and that the footprint of 1 kilogram of cocaine is 30 times greater than that of cocoa beans.
Other environmental impacts include substantial deforestation.