THE TOP 8 COUNTRIES RIDDEN WITH DRUGS
The international consensus ranks the following 8 as the most addicted countries in the world:
- Iran- Heroin, 14.32% Per Capita
Between its extremely oppressive government and the strict prohibitions of Islam against drug use, seeing Iran at the top of the list is quite a surprise. And the country’s drug of choice? Opiates. Iran’s strategic location in the Persian Gulf makes it an important transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin on its way to European markets. But, heroin is not the only problem in Iran. Drugs are also pouring into the country from neighboring Afghanistan, mainly opium. According to the CIA World Fact Book, Though Iran suffers one of the highest opiate addiction rates in the world, it also has an increasing problem with synthetic drugs. Also, the Islamic Republic regularly enforces the death penalty for drug offenses. A lack of adequate funding allocated to the fight against drugs is also a major problem in Iran. Iranian border controls has stiffened in recent years making more difficult for drug smugglers and crime syndicates to bring drugs to Iran, reducing, mainly, the supply of heroin.
- United Kingdom-Heroin/Cocaine, 13.65% Per Capita
The country is reportedly a major consumer of Southwest Asian heroin and Latin American cocaine. As for an estimated total drug control expenditure in the UK is estimated at €7.5 billion (US$8.65 billion), 70 percent of that is to cover law enforcement expenditures.
- France-Prescription Pills, 13.2% Per Capita
In terms of prescription drug consumption, France actually ranks worse than the US. The fact that it is easier to procure pain meds in France than in the US may be part of the reason. Since prescription drug prices are relatively cheaper in France, this makes them more accessible to the average French citizen. In fact, it is said that a bottle of painkiller medication can reach a price of $133 in the US, while the same bottle could cost in France only the equivalent of $57. The three predominant painkillers consumed in France are: benzodiazapines, buprenorphine ( Suboxone, Subutex) and methadone.
Slovakia-Inhalants, 13.01% Per Capita
- Slovakia inhalants, 13.01% Per Capita
Slovakia’s main concern with drug-related use and addiction has to do with inhalants. The culprit is a thinner-like, colorless inhalant known as Toluene which in many instances has caused the deaths of its users, especially when inhaled for the first time..
- Russia-Heroin, 7.1% Per Capita
The Head of the Federal Drug Control Service, Viktor Ivanov, asserts that Russian citizens spend more on illegal drugs in a year than the annual budget of the Ministry of Defense. Aside from alcohol, heroin also constitutes an enormous problem. A porous border with Afghanistan where the upstream heroin drug trade originates could the problem.
- Afghanistan-Heroin, 6.9% Per Capita
It is estimated that about a 1 million people in Afghanistan are addicted to heroin. It is worth mentioning that Afghanistan is the leading producer of poppy opium. Additionally, it is reported that up to 50% of opium-using parents also give the drug to their small toddlers and children. In post-war Afghanistan according to CIA World Fact Book, the Taliban and other antigovernment groups participate in and profit from the opiate trade, which is a key source of revenue for the Taliban inside Afghanistan. In post-war reconstruction, corruption and instability in Afghanistan make it harder for the government to devise a sound drug policy reform. Drug War Facts states that in the 2005-2008 period the cumulative revenue from opiate farming and trade accruing to Taliban insurgents is estimated at US$350-650 million.
- Canada- Ecstasy/Marijuana, 6.4% Per Capita
Our northern neighbors and NAFTA partners show some alarming statistics when it comes to marijuana addiction. 44.3% of the population of British Columbia reports using marijuana at least once. According to Drug War Facts, prevalence of marijuana use among Canadians age 15 and older was 10.2% in 2012. Similarly, the total direct social costs associated with combined illicit drugs in Canada amounts to $3.5 billion. Incidentally, the World Fact Book refers to Canada as an “illicit producer of cannabis for the domestic drug market and export to US; use of hydroponics technology permits growers to plant large quantities of high-quality marijuana indoors; [Canada is also a major contributor to] increasing ecstasy production, some of which is destined for the US.” In an attempt to deter these staggering drug abuse statistics, the Canada Drug Policy Coalition has recommended the decriminalization of marijuana use. The policy shift has been scheduled for 2017.
- United States-Prescription Pills, 6.2% Per Capita
And at the bottom of the Top 8 Most Drug Addicted Countries comes the USA. Reportedly, 7 out of 10 Americans have been on at least one prescription painkiller in their lifetime. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that 52 million people in the United States over the age of 12 have used prescription drugs in the US. CNN reported that 47,055 people died from drug overdoses in 2014. In addition, 61% of all drug overdose deaths are attributed to opioid abuse. However, a more alarming statistic comes from SAMHSA administrator, Pamela S. Hyde, who states that almost 5,500 people start to misuse prescription painkillers every day.
THE U.S: Moving FORWARD
The verdict, according the facts and numbers from the countries most affected by drug use, is that not enough is being done including allocating budgets to counteract the repercussions of addiction. A lack of a comprehensive drug policy control that takes into consideration a sound evidence-based approach that treats addiction as a disease of the brain, rather than as a moral failing. Although every country faces its own socioeconomic realities and challenges, for a global War on Drugs to be effective, it must be deployed worldwide having perhaps the leading countries of the world taking on a more active role in supporting and sustaining the recovery efforts of less developed countries embattled by the ongoing drug epidemic.
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