Heroin Addiction on a Global Rise


Each year, the United Nations releases its coveted World Drug Report, compiling information from around the globe and addressing the state of drug use. This year, the United Nations gained special attention from those concerned with global drug abuse when it held the General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS). The special assembly met to discuss the growing global drug epidemic and how nations could band together to fight it. In an upsetting decision to many, instead of embracing new approaches to addiction, the UNGASS chose to continue the prohibition style laws that exist today. Many countries feel that this practice is out of date, and that it is the least effective method. According to the World Drug Report, they have reason to be right.

Overall “drug use disorders”, as the report calls those suffering from addictions, across the world raised by 2 million people- from 27 to 29 million worldwide. Alarmingly, this is the first time in 6 years the number has actually risen. The cause for the upsurge, according to the report? Heroin.

“Heroin continues to be the drug that kills the most people”, writes the head of the UNODC, despite a global decrease in opium production of 38 percent. Cocaine production also diminished in the last year. More of North America and parts of western Europe became addicted to heroin and opiates within the last year, contributing to the flux.

The heroin epidemic being faced by the United States as well as the rest of the world is becoming a moot point. There is little scandal left to be assigned to such news as the world desperately struggles to find a solution. Legislatures around the world are pushing for more regulation and limitation on prescription opiates; harm reduction and prevention services; increasing access to treatment; and medication-based treatment options, like long acting implants.

In an infographic on the UN Twitter, the agency states that of the 24 million people who used drugs within the last year, 23 million of them suffer from drug use disorders. Only one out of six from those 23 million people will be in treatment.

Denial of a drug epidemic is neither any longer viable nor responsible on the part of global government agencies. Treatment providers around the world must do their part to provide the most valuable and effective treatment experiences possible to the few lucky enough to have access to it.


Refuge Recovery offers a comprehensive treatment program for addiction, fusing together evidence based treatment methods with buddhist based mindfulness practices. For more information, call (323) 207-0276 today

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