International Trends in Drug Abuse

Trends in drug use in various countries are reported in a number of sources; some current examples are given in this item:

In Australia marijuana is the most popular illicit drug, followed by amphetamines. While cocaine is not readily available in Australia, heroin is, especially among the arrestee population. Nineteen percent of youth in detention centers and 40 percent of adult prisoners have used heroin at least once in their lifetime.

Marijuana is the drug of choice in Canada’s cities – 48 percent of youth aged 15-19 in British Columbia use marijuana, and 61 percent of treatment clients in Toronto reported marijuana as a major problem. In addition, powder cocaine and crack use were reported as serious problems in several cities.

Cocaine is the most common drug of abuse among treatment clients in Mexico, followed by marijuana and inhalants.

In South Africa, marijuana and methaqualone are the most frequently abused substances, often used in combination. There are also reports that crack cocaine, powder cocaine, and heroin uses are increasing.

As a result of a brief heroin shortage in 1996, many addicts in Thailand began injecting the drug, and there are reports of lower purity heroin being diluted with barbiturates and benzodiazepines. In addition, methamphetamine use continues to be popular, especially among students, and the number of methamphetamine laborites in Thailand has increased.

Source: Adapted by Center for Substance Abuse Research, University of Maryland, College Park (CESAR) from data from NIDA,
Community Epidemiology Work Group, “Epidemiologic Trends in Drug Abuse Advance Report,” December, 1997

Back to top of page - Back to International News

Powered by WordPress