Substance Abuse

Information and statistics about substance abuse around the world. Statistics also includes drug addiction rates, drug trafficking information, and sales and prices of the illegal drug trade.

In 2005, the number of stimulants related emergency room visits by 18 to 34 year old people in the United States was 5,600.

In 2011, the number of ER visits increased to 23,000, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

In one-third of the cases, alcohol was also involved.

The stimulants involved in these incidents were prescription drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin.

(Prescription drug abuse statistics and addiction information.)

Source:  Sabrina Tavernise, “New Sign of Stimulants’ Toll on Young,” New York Times, August 8, 2013.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the Chief Medical Correspondent at CNN, reported on the rate of addiction of people who use illicit drugs.

According to his article, various studies have found that up to 10 percent of marijuana users become addicted and dependent on the drug. 20 percent of cocaine users become dependent after using, and up to 25 percent of heroin users become addicted.

Nearly 30 percent of cigarette smokers become addicted to cigarettes.

(Price of marijuana by country.)

Source:  Sanjay Gupta, “Why I changed my mind on weed,” CNN, August 9, 2013.

Two minors who were born and raised in the US state of Texas are currently serving life sentences in Texas prisons for killings that they conducted on behalf of the Zetas drug cartel in Mexico.

According to media reports, the two teenagers were paid $2,000 per month as a retainer. When they would successfully kill a person, they would be paid between $10,000 to $50,000 and pounds of cocaine.

(Additional contract killings around the world.)

Source:  Alex Greig, “Mexican drug cartels groom American children to become teenage assassins,” Daily Mail, August 7, 2013.

As of 2013, there were 337 women from South Africa who were in foreign prisons for drug trafficking crimes, according to data from criminal justice programs.

Source:  Phumia Williams, “Drug mules pay price of abuse,” Pretoria, Opinion, August 6, 2013.

The Chief Medical Officer of the International Federation of Association Football (FIFIA) stated that the governing body conducts over 30,000 drug tests during a typical year.

Out of those tests, between 70 to 90 tests comes back positive for banned substances. Most of the positive tests are for marijuana or cocaine.

Source:  Stefan Coerts, “FIFA blames cocaine and marijuana for failed doping tests,” Yahoo Sports, August 3, 2013.


According to a survey conducted by Gallop, up to 38 percent of people in the United States have tried marijuana at least once in their lifetime as of 2013.

The number of respondents who claimed to have tried marijuana was up slightly from the 33 percent rate in 1985 and the 34 percent rate in 1999.

In 2013, the number of people who tried marijuana  in the 18 to 29 age bracket was 36 percent. In the 30 to 49 age bracket, the rate was 49 percent. 44 percent of adults aged 50 to 64 used marijuana, and 17 percent of those over 65 used it at least once in their lifetime.

Source: Lydia Saad, “In U.S., 38% Have Tried Marijuana, Little Changed Since ’80s,” Gallop, August 2, 2013.

In the first six months of 2013, police in the US city of Denver, Colorado issued 423 citations for public marijuana consumption.

In 2012, the police department issued 1,600 citations throughout the entire year.

Since 2013, residents aged 21 and over are able to have up to one ounce of marijuana legally.

(Marijuana prices by country.)

Source:  John Ingold, “Public marijuana use is illegal but seldom punished in Denver,” Denver Post,

A foreign tourist working as a drug mule in Paraguay is able to make up to $3,970 per trip smuggling drugs out of the country. A local Paraguayan earns about $200. Security officials in the country stated that drug trafficking gangs prefer to use foreigners who enter the country on tourist visas because they usually have a clean criminal record and can be made to appear wealthy.

(Price of cocaine by country.)

Source: Hugo Barrios, “Paraguay: Tourists serve as mules,” Infosurhoy, July 30, 2013.

In the Southern China province of Guangdong, public security officials report that there are 373,500 drug addicts living the province as of June 2013. The number of addicts in this one province represent up to one-sixth of the total number of drug addicts in China.

In the first six months of 2013, security agencies destroyed 132 drug production factories, seized 5.26 tons of illegal drugs, and arrested 11,473 people for drug trafficking activities.

(Additional crime in China statistics.)

Source:  Wang Nan, “Guangdong at heart of China’s illegal narcotics trade,” Global Times, August 1, 2013.

23 states across the United States reported seizing marijuana in 2012 that was originally grown in Colorado, according to the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.

A pound of medical-grade marijuana grown in Colorado is sold for around $1,500 in the state. If that marijuana is sold in the Eastern United States, where it is still illegal, the pound is sold for double the price.

In neighboring Kansas, 84 percent of the marijuana seized in 2013 is medical-grade. In previous years, 70 percent of the marijuana was “pressed”, which was mostly grown and trafficked from Mexico.

In the first five months of 2013, law enforcement in Kansas seized 2,654 pounds of marijuana and arrested 187 people for drug trafficking charges. 79 of the drug seizures involved marijuana from Colorado, followed by 35 cases of California grown weed.

Source:  Associated Press, “Kansas at crossroads of marijuana trafficking,” Wichita Eagle, July 27, 2013.