Misuse of harmful, illegal stimulant drugs grows in developing world, UN warns

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 10 September 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a1617
  1. John Zarocostas
  1. 1Geneva

    The misuse of drugs like amphetamine, methamphetamine, and ecstasy, often wrongly perceived as harmless, is worsening in developing nations, offsetting the stabilisation and decline reported in many rich countries, warns a report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

    The report says that millions of people worldwide take pills and powders generically known as amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) and estimates that the number of people who have used such drugs at least once in the past year at about 34 million, which exceeds users of cocaine and heroin combined.

    “Emerging ATS markets need to be addressed proactively before they are established and become a significant added burden to national health and justice systems,” the UN cautions.

    Estimates of prevalence among 15-64 …

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