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The potency of cannabis has increased by as much as four times in parts of the world over the last 24 years.
Unsplash/Wesley Gibbs

COVID pandemic fuelling major increase in drug use worldwide: UN report

Around 275 million people used drugs worldwide in the last year of unprecedented upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, up by 22 per cent from 2010. That’s among the key findings of the latest annual report released on Thursday by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which also provides an overview of global drug markets, as well as their impact on people’s health and livelihoods.

UN News/Lulu Gao

PODCAST: How to beat the opioid epidemic

Opioids account for over three-quarters of deaths associated with prescription drug misuse. In late January, David Sheff and Vicky Cornell joined a panel discussion on addiction organised by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Mr. Sheff’s memoir about his son’s addiction has been turned into a major Hollywood movie, and Ms. Cornell was married to Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell, whose suicide she has attributed to prescription drugs that altered his mental state.


Boost policies to address drug abuse among women: UN body

Governments are being urged to provide more funding to prevent and treat drug abuse among women.

The appeal has been made by the International Narcotics Board (INCB) which is also calling for more gender-sensitive drug policies and programmes, as well as better access to health care for drug-dependent women.

INCB has released its latest annual report which the organization says comes at a time when countries are reporting “a disproportionate increase” in drug overdoses among women.

UN Photo/JC McIlwaine

“Political commitment” needed to tackle alcohol abuse in South Sudan

“Political commitment” and effective policies are what’s needed to tackle the scourge of drug and alcohol abuse in South Sudan.

That’s according to James Chitsva, who works with the World Health Organization (WHO) in the world’s youngest country.

With World Health Day approaching next month, he said that 3.3 million premature deaths globally each year can be attributed to alcohol abuse, but reliable statistics are not yet available for South Sudan.

Sebit William asked Mr Chitsva to sum up the threat to health posed by abusing drugs and alcohol.