A new study, published on January 6 in The Lancet, indicates that about 200 million people are using illicit drugs worldwide, with the highest use in wealthier countries. Dr. Jeffrey T. Parsons, a psychology professor at Hunter College in NYC, said that the study “serves to confirm something addiction experts have known for some time — that the extent of illicit drug use and abuse in developed countries like the United States has reached epidemic proportions.”
The team of Australian researchers responsible for the study estimated that, worldwide, there are about 203 million marijuana users, up to 56 million amphetamine users, between 14-21 million cocaine users, and 12-21 million opioid users. Marijuana and amphetamine use is highest in Australia and New Zealand, heroin and opioid use is highest in the Near and Middle East, and cocaine use is highest in North America. Drugs not included in the study due to lack of data include Ecstasy, hallucinogenic drugs, inhalants, and anabolic steroids.