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Drug Rehab: Findings from the 2012 World Drug Report

Image taken from The Guardian

Earlier this year, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime published the World Drug Report 2012, with findings for the year 2010. The document is lengthy—just over 100 pages—and wordy, though there are several graphs that display the data clearly. The document is comprised of two sections. The first section is driven by figures and analyzes illicit drug markets, including which drugs are seeing an increase in markets, and where these markets are; the second half of the report is concerned with social trends, including the demographics of users and a forecast of global drug use. In the hopes of making this information clearer and more relevant, I’ve extracted from the report significant ideas as they relate to drug rehab.

Who Is Receiving Drug Addiction Treatment?

According to the UNODC, about 20% of drug users received treatment in 2010. The report does not break down this number by geographic region, but it finds that users sought drug rehab for opioid abuse—in most cases, heroin—more often than any other drug. Moreover, the UNODC finds that the average user seeking drug addiction treatment was aged anywhere from late twenties to early thirties.

Females Are Underrepresented In Drug Rehab

The UNODC reports a gender discrepancy in regards to drug addiction treatment: female users are underrepresented in treatment facilities. Researchers take into account the fact that more men abuse drugs than women, but still the ratio of male to female users is not comparable to the ratio of males to females seeking drug addiction treatment. In countries such as Afghanistan, this may be a result of a gender discrepancy in society; drug rehab is not as readily available to women as it is in countries like Australia or the U.K.

A Large Discrepancy: Those Who Need Treatment vs. Those Who Are Receiving Drug Addiction Treatment

Although most of the first section of the World Drug Report 2012 focuses on market data, there is one significant statistic related to drug rehab. In terms of US dollars, researchers at the UNODC report that $200 billion to $250 billion is needed to cover drug addiction treatment on a global scale. In reality though, only a fifth of that is being spent, a price that amounts to only 1 in 5 drug users receiving drug addiction treatment.

The World Drug Report 2012 is dense, and centres mainly on global drug trafficking and market trends, but it is worth the read and researchers have constructed illuminating graphs and maps with the vast amount of data collected. The Guardian has compiled data from the report, and published its own interactive map. Hopefully all of this new data can be used to shape drug addiction treatment policies that will be far-reaching, both across geographic and social lines.

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