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Drug Use in Other Countries

While the United States has a very significant drug problem and some of the highest rates of use and abuse among all major drugs, drug use is a worldwide problem which is prevalent in every region of the globe. Understand drug use in other countries can shed light on what types of drugs are most use among certain races, cultures and economic and social backgrounds so that abuse can be recognized and prevented. Worldwide, cannabis products such as marijuana, opiates such as heroin and opium, cocaine, and stimulants such as methamphetamine are the most common drugs of abuse.

Drug Abuse In Other Countries

Which drugs are abused can vary greatly from country to country, depending on many factors including drug production and availability in that specific region as well as drug laws. For example, there are certain countries which legalize the use of marijuana under certain circumstances, and other countries where marijuana is illegal be decriminalized. There are certain countries where drug use is illegal but tolerated in certain circumstances, and all of these things affect drug use in these regions.

Types Of Drugs Abused

During the 1990's rates of use of amphetamine-type drugs such as methamphetamine increased dramatically in many countries other than the U.S., much like the increase in use rates seen here at home. Western Europe and Asia in particular struggled with this problem, which tapered off for Western Europe during the latter half of the 1990's but continued to increase among the Asian population. This is due in part to the fact that Asia is a leading manufacturer of amphetamine-type stimulants.

Cocaine is a very popular drug of abuse and is used widely in about two-thirds of countries worldwide. While the U.S. has seen a decline in rates of cocaine use, cocaine use in Western Europe has continued an upward trend for over three decades with no sign of slowing. Asia has shown the lowest rates of cocaine use worldwide. In general, rates of cocaine use are typically higher in the more affluent regions of the world. Opiate use has increased steadily worldwide in recent years at alarming rates, with over two-thirds of countries reporting such increases. This has been attributed to a significant increase in opium production, making opiate drugs even more available than before. Cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug in the U.S. and in every other country in the world. Because cannabis is so easy to grow and cultivate, this drug will most likely remain the most used drug in the world.

In contrast, South America also sees high rates of abuse of drugs which marijuana at the forefront of the problem; much like every other region of the world. Argentina, Chile and Uruguay are the countries with the highest rates of illicit drug use in this region. For example, Argentina and Chile should around a 7% rate of current use of marijuana as opposed to only 1% in Ecuador and Peru. In all South American countries, rates of illicit drug use are higher among men and the typical user is between the ages of 15 and 34.

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