A Look at the Global Addiction Crisis

Written by Chloe Nicosia

America isn’t the only country in the midst of an addiction crisis. Here are some other countries that are struggling with addiction.

The addiction crisis in the U.S. has reached epidemic proportions, with 23.5 million Americans–about ten percent of our country’s population–addicted to drugs or alcohol. State governments and the federal government are working hard to help Americans get the professional help they need to overcome an addiction, and they’re hard at work developing prevention programs that will hopefully keep upcoming generations off of drugs.

But America is only one of a number of countries struggling with an addiction crisis. Here’s what addiction looks like in other places around the globe.

Bangladesh’s Yaba Problem

This South Asian country is struggling with an addiction crisis stemming from the rampant use of yaba, an adulterated version of meth. According to global drug abuse statistics, yaba addiction affects over half of Bangladesh’s young people, particularly wealthier high school and college students who use the drug to get high and in an attempt to improve academic performance. The poorer people in the country use it to cope with rampant poverty.

Yaba is manufactured in Myanmar. When it first started pouring over the Myanmar border in 2000, over a third of the people in Bangladesh lived on less than two dollars per day. While the poverty rate has been steadily improving since then, problems still plague the country, including the effects of climate change and overpopulation. Now, the addiction crisis has reached epidemic proportions and seems to be getting worse: In 2010, authorities in Bangladesh seized 81,000 yaba tablets at the border. By 2016, that number had increased to 29.5 million tablets.

Yaba is cheap to obtain, and it has destroyed countless lives. Unfortunately, treatment in Bangladesh is hard to come by, with only five public and 68 private treatment centers in the country. The Bangladesh government worries that until Myanmar agrees to crack down on the manufacture and trafficking of yaba, their problem is only going to get worse.

Iran’s Opioid Crisis

According to global drug abuse statistics, around 2.8 million people in Iran are abusing drugs or addicted to them. The most problematic drug for Iran is opium, which is the main ingredient in heroin. According to BBC News, opium accounts for around 67 percent of the drugs used by Iranians. Marijuana and methamphetamine largely account for the rest.

Afghanistan, which borders Iran, produces around 90 percent of the world’s opium, and Iran is a major trafficking route for Afghan-produces opiates being smuggled into Europe. In response to the growing problem of trafficking, Iran has spent tens of millions of dollars reinforcing their 600-mile border with deep ditches and concrete barriers to stem the tide of illegal drugs coming over the border. Currently, the penalty for many drug crimes is execution, and hundreds of Iranians were executed in 2015 for nonviolent drug crimes, according to global drug abuse statistics cited by the LA Times. Lawmakers and activists are looking to change the harsh penalties for these nonviolent crimes, and the Iranian health ministry has authorized 8,000 rehab clinics to offer methadone maintenance therapy for opioid addiction.

England and Wales Overdose Crisis

Europe isn’t immune to the addiction crisis either. According to the UK Independent, nearly 4,000 people died of overdose in England and Wales in 2016, with over half attributed to synthetic opioids like heroin, morphine, and fentanyl and the remaining half due to antidepressants, benzodiazepines, cocaine, and amphetamines. This number increased from the previous year, and it’s the highest number of deaths since England and Wales began tracking overdose deaths in 1993. “Legal highs” that have since been banned, including synthetic cannabis like spice, were responsible for 123 deaths in 2016.

In August, 2017, the government proposed a comprehensive new strategy to combat the opioid crisis and other drug addictions. The plan involves police, healthcare experts, the community, and global partners to combat the illegal drug trade and get people into treatment for their addiction.

A Global Problem with Global and Local Answers

Addiction is a global problem, with local and national governments and organizations like The World Health Organization (WHO) struggling to find the answers. All agree that stemming the tide of trafficking and helping individuals get the help they need are two essential steps for reducing the addiction crisis around the world.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, get help right away. Make a phone call that will connect you to a professional drug treatment center. The call you make may save your life or the life of someone you love. Call us today at 1.800.429.7690.

Sources:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-40397727

http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-iran-drug-addiction-2016-story.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/drug-deaths-england-and-wales-3744-overdose-poisoning-legal-highs-new-psychoactive-substances-a7872241.html