2019 World Drug Report

In the turn of the new year, we look at the current trends in drug abuse throughout the world and what the key figures say about drug use in the world.


An easy way of seeing how prevalent opioid use is, is the number of opioid overdose deaths. While surveys show an overall decline in the non-medical use of opioids, opioid related deaths continue to increase. The United States recorded the highest number of opioid overdose deaths at over 28,000. Europe is not as heavily affected by opioid use, an example being Sweden. Sweden has the highest number of opioid overdose deaths in Europe, at 590.


Global seizures rose to 1,275 tons, the largest quantity ever reported. This increase highlights the increase in cocaine trafficking. With an estimated 4.2 million people (1.3 per cent of the population) using cocaine, usage of the drug was highest in Western and Central Europe, which accounted for some 90 per cent of all the cocaine use in Europe as a whole.

In Australia, 2.5 per cent of the population aged 14 and older were estimated to have used cocaine in the previous year. The highest estimated prevalence of cocaine was among young adults aged 20-29 also.

Cocaine use was not popular in both Africa in Asia. For Africa, the use of cocaine was estimated to be between 0.02 per cent and 0.40 per cent of the population, while in Asia the cocaine use was estimated to be between 0.04 and 0.07 per cent.


The information available globally on methamphetamine, although limited, indicates that there has been a market expansion. The data available shows that this market has been expanding and that the two largest ‘demand regions’ are South-East Asia and North America.

In terms of methamphetamine that has been seized, North American and South-East Asia, respectively account for 49 per cent and 42 per cent of global quantities seized. Despite the overall expansion of methamphetamine markets worldwide, most of the trafficking continues to be intraregional, for example, trafficking within North America or within South-East Asia.

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