Pulse Radio on 27/6/12
The Daily Telegraph reports that Australians and New Zealanders are the biggest users of recreational drugs in the world, according to the 2012 United Nations World Drug Report.
Whilst the use of ecstasy is in decline in Australia, cocaine use is actually on the rise and both Australians and New Zealanders consume more marijuana per capita than any other country. Both countries combined, the annual use for all drugs except for heroin "remain much higher than the global average", said the report, published a short time ago in Vienna.
The major destinations for cocaine traffickers continue to be in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, suggesting the Mexican drug cartels are continuing to make strong inroads into the Oceanic market. The report states that cannabis is the most widely used illicit substance across the globe, with the highest prevalence of use among Australians and New Zealanders. Between 9.1 and 14.6 per cent of the population use the drug, compared to the estimated annual worldwide usage of 2.6 to 5.0 per cent.
The report, which mostly relies from statistics gathered in 2010, says that while cocaine use has decreased in North America, its use is up a full percentage point in Australia with 1.5 to 1.9 per cent of the population using the drug. Ecstasy use in Australian declined from 3.7 per cent to 3.0 percent between 2007 and 2010, but this might be explained by the fact Australia reported more ecstasy lab busts than any other country.
The report also noted strong growing trends in the black market for pills.
"There was also a statistically significant increase in the use of pharmaceuticals for non-medical purposes in Australia, with annual prevalence for persons aged 14 and over rising from 3.7 per cent in 2007 to 4.2 per cent in 2010," said the report.
"Cannabis remains the most prevalent drug in Australia, as well as the main substance accounting for demand for treatment for substance abuse (50 per cent), with heroin and amphetamines accounting for almost 20 per cent of treatment demand. Of the 1,790 drug-related deaths reported in 2010, nearly 40 per cent were due to opioids and approximately a quarter attributed to benzodiazepines."
The report also indicates that Australia may be a victim of its own high reporting standards, especially in regards to cocaine, because countries such as China and India did not provide information for the report. But the decrease in ecstasy use may not be because of its fading popularity but because of seizures.
"In Oceania, seizures also continued to increase in Australia, where 112kg of 'ecstasy'-group substances were seized in 2010, compared with 54kg in 2008 and 59kg in 2009," said the report.
Australia had the highest number of lab busts in 2010, with 17 shut down.
Story taken from the Daily Telegraph.
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