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Drugs are among leading causes of avoidable mortality among young people

Drug use is one of the major causes of preventable mortality among young people, both directly, through overdose, and indirectly, through diseases, accidents, violence and suicide associated with drug use. Data presented by the National Public Health Agency show that, at the end of 2022, the cumulative number of officially registered drug users was almost 12,000, including 582 new cases, the incidence being 39.6 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to 26.3 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 2021. In connection with the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which is marked on June 26, specialists warn that preventing drug use remains the best means of dealing with the phenomenon, IPN reports.

This year’s theme of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is “The evidence is clear. Invest in prevention”. The goal is to raise awareness of the importance of treating people who use drugs with respect and compassion, providing evidence-based services as alternatives to punishment for all, prioritizing preventive actions.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s World Drug Report, issued in 2023, 1 in 17 people aged 15-64 in the world had used a drug in the past 12 months. The estimated number of users grew from 240 million in 2011 to 296 million in 2021 (5.8% of the global population aged 15-64). This is an increase of 23%, partly due to population growth.

The European Drug Report 2024 highlighted worrying aspects such as the availability of drugs, which is high for almost all types of substances. Today, drugs are available and can be obtained very easily and, consequently, more are consumed. The report refers to most drugs, in particular, it states that some new drugs are also available and knowledge about them is still quite limited.

Cannabis remains the most commonly used drug in Europe. There is a growing diversity of forms in which substances can be available on the market and consumed. In some cases, such as cannabis, the methods of administration include new forms of vaping. Cocaine is the second most common drug in the EU. In 2023, EU member states seized record quantities of cocaine (322 tonnes).

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