Research on drug use

UNODC monitors global and regional developments in the demand for drugs, including the non-medical use of pharmaceutical drugs, through various channels and activities, including regular reporting from Member States, household surveys and targeted studies of high-risk drug users and vulnerable population groups.

Information from these sources is used to produce datasets but also analysed holistically to provide an overall picture of the many challenges the world faces in terms of drug use and health consequences, covering aspects such as trends in extent and patterns of drug use, risk behaviours, drug related morbidity and mortality and coverage of drug treatment for those suffering from drug use disorders.

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World drug report

Consisting of five separate booklets, the World Drug Report 2021 provides an in-depth analysis of the global drug markets and paints a comprehensive picture of the measurable effects and potential impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the world drug problem.

  

Booklet 1 summarizes the four subsequent booklets by reviewing their key findings and highlighting their policy implications. 

Booklet 2 contains an overview of the global demand for and supply of drugs. It provides the latest estimates of and trends in drug use and looks at several cross-cutting issues related to the world drug problem. Among the issues examined are the extent of drug use and its health impact, including trends seen among people with drug use disorders, drug treatment demand, the harms resulting from NPS use, and HIV and hepatitis among people who inject drugs. The booklet also features a projection of the impact of population growth on drug use by 2030.

Booklet 3 contains an analysis of the global market for cannabis, starting with a review of cannabis supply, including trends in the cultivation of and trafficking in cannabis herb and cannabis resin at the global level and in the various regions. It contains the latest estimates of and trends in cannabis use, including an analysis of changes over time in cannabis use and risk perceptions. The booklet also includes an overview of the latest developments in measures regulating the non-medical use of cannabis in Canada, Uruguay and some jurisdictions in the United States of America.

Booklet 4 contains an analysis of the global market for cocaine, starting with a review of cocaine supply, including trends in the cultivation of coca bush and in the manufacture of and trafficking in cocaine at the global level and in the various regions. It also contains an overview of the latest estimates of and trends in cocaine use in different markets.

Booklet 5 contains an early assessment of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on drug markets, as the situation continues to evolve and more data become available. The aim is to paint a comprehensive picture of the measurable effects and potential impact of the COVID-19 crisis to assist Member States in anticipating and addressing challenges that may arise in the near future.

RESEARCH ON DRUG USE

In addition to the annual review of latest trends on drug use and health consequences and focused analyses on drug demand generated for the World Drug Report, drug use is addressed in topical research on drug markets, including that on opiates from Afghanistan and that on cocaine.

National surveys on drug use supported by UNODC

Drug use in Pakistan (ongoing)

High risk drug use in Kazakhstan (ongoing)

High risk drug use in Uzbekistan (ongoing)

Drug use in Guatemala (ongoing)

School survey on drug use in Senegal 2020 (forthcoming)

Rapport sur l'enquête sur la consommation de substances et la santé chez les élèves des écoles secondaires en Côte d'Ivoire 2019

Youth survey on drug use and health in Kazakhstan 2018 (forthcoming)

Study on substance use and health among youth in Afghanistan 2018 (forthcoming)

Drug use in Nigeria 2018

Estimating the extent of illicit drug use in Palestine 2017

Youth substance use in Tajikistan 2016

National study on problematic drug users (size estimation and patterns of drug abuse) Albania 2014-2015

Drug use in Pakistan 2013

Drug use in Afghanistan: 2009 Survey

Problem drug use in Pakistan: results from the year 2006 national assessment

CAPACITY BUILDING ON RESEARCH ON DRUG USE

UNODC also supports Member States in developing capacity to design and implement methodologically sound surveys and assessments of drug use, as well as develop and implement integrated drug information systems and establishments of national drug observatories

Resources on drug use epidemiology

Developing an Integrated Drug Information System
Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Spanish, Russian

Estimating prevalence: Indirect methods for estimating the size of the drug problem Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Spanish, Russian

Conducting school survey on drug abuse
Arabic
, Chinese, English, French, Spanish, Russian

Focus Assessment Studies: A qualitative approach to data collection
Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Spanish, Russian

Ethical challenges in drug epidemiology: issues, principles and guidelines
Arabic
, Chinese, English, French, Spanish, Russian

Guidance for the measurement of drug treatment data
Arabic
, Chinese, English, French, Spanish, Russian

Besides its activities on drug use, UNODC research on drug markets also encompasses activities to monitor and analyse drug supply, including activities to assess and monitor drug cultivation, production and manufacture  and research on drug trafficking flows, routes and actors at national, regional and international levels.

Data

UNODC regularly updates global statistical series on drugs, including on drug trafficking (drug seizures, drug prices, drug purity, drug-related arrests). These data are available at dataUNODC

Following an extensive review of the current data collection instrument on drugs, the Annual Report Questionnaire, the UNODC, in consultation with experts from the Member States and international organisations, is preparing a revised Annual Report Questionnaire, which will be implemented from 2021.

28-30 August 2019Second Expert Working Group on improving drug statistics and strengthening the Annual Report Questionnaire (ARQ)

29-31 January 2018Expert Working Group on Improving Drug Statistics and Strengthening the Annual Report Questionnaire (ARQ)