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.

An estimated 50,000 to 80,000 people in Pakistan abuse crystal meth, according to treatment officials in the city.

A typical meth user in the country spends between $5 to $10 (500 to 1,000 Pakistani Rupees) on purchasing the drug each day in the city of Karachi. In the country, meth is more expensive than heroin. A gram of meth can cost between $5 to $8 per gram (500 to 800 Rupees), while a gram of heroin costs between $3 to $5 per gram (300 to 500 Rupees). (More on how much meth costs here.)

There are an estimated 1 million drug addicts in Pakistan.

(More facts about crystal meth here.)

Source: Ammar Shahbazi, “In ghettos, a meth-merising addiction taking over,” The News, June 16, 2013.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that the Taliban earns up to $200 Million a year from the trafficking of illegal drugs from Afghanistan.

Previously, the Taliban was only collecting a 10 percent tax on opium farmers and traffickers. However, in 2012 and 2013, the Taliban has increased its involvement in the drug trade in order to increase its revenue, according to a report by Newsweek.

The Taliban has increased protection for poppy farmers from government eradication efforts. In 2012, up  to 380,000 acres of poppies was planted across Afghanistan. According to the UNODC, 6 percent of the poppies were destroyed by government officials.

The governing body of the Taliban established a policy to split the revenues of the drug trade. According to leaders, 70 percent of the profits from drugs are mean to be used for food, weapons and medical care for the insurgency, with the remaining 30 percent going out into the field to fighters.

It has also been reported that the Taliban is partnering with its former enemies the Northern Alliance in order to maximize profits in the drug trade.

(Additional heroin statistics.)

Source:  Ron Moreau, “The Taliban’s Life of Luxury,” Newsweek, June 12, 2013.

A report by NPR in June 2013 stated that up to 20 people were being killed in Honduras each day and that the country has the highest murder rate in the world.

In the city of San Pedro Sula, over 1,200 people were killed in 2012.

Two major causes for the high rate of murders are organized crime gangs and drug trafficking cartels, according to the report.

In San Pedero Sula, the gangs of Mara Salvatrucha and the 18th Street have been battling over territory. In total, there are about 65,000 gang members in Honduras.

Along with gang warfare, drug trafficking violence has contributed to the murder rate. Due to its geographic location between South American and the United States, up to 42 percent of all cocaine being transported to the US passes through Honduras. The US State Department also states that up to 90 percent of all worldwide cocaine flights pass through the country as well.

Source:  Carrie Kahn, “Honduras Claims Unwanted Title Of World’s Murder Capital,” NPR, June 12, 2013.

In 2003, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction discovered 0 new synthetic drugs that had psychoactive substances.

In 2008, the monitoring group was discovered 13 new types of synthetic drugs.

In 2012, officials discovered 57 new synthetic drugs, more than one new type of drug each week.

(Price of ecstasy pills on the global black market.)

Source:  Jared Savage, “Drug designers stay one step ahead,” New Zealand Herald, June 10, 2013.

Security officers in Thailand arrested two men from Iran who were attempting to smuggle crystal meth pellets into the county. The two men had a total of 139 pellets filled with crystal meth that they swallowed in order to bring into Thailand. If the crystal meth was sold on the streets, officials say that the drugs would have been worth $113,000 (3.5 Million Thai Baht.)

(Additional crystal meth facts.)

The leader of the two men told police that he was to be paid between $1,943 to $2,923 (60,000 to 90,000 Thai Baht) by drug traffickers to bring in the drugs.

(How much does meth cost?)

Source:  “Two Iranians caught smuggling crystal meth,” Bangkok Post, June 9, 2013.


The American Civil Liberties Union reported in a study that Blacks in the United States  were 3.73 greater than Whites to be arrested for marijuana crimes across the country. In some counties, the rate of Blacks being arrested was 10 to 30 times higher than whites.

Marijuana usage by both Whites and Blacks are roughly the same across the United States, according to the ACLU.

In 2001, Blacks were arrested at a rate of 537 people per 100,000. The rate of arrests for Blacks increased to 716 per 100,000 in 2010.

In 2001, Whites were arrested at a rate of 191 people per 100,000. The rate of arrests for Whites was 192 per 100,000 in 2010.

Despite the higher rate of arrests for marijuana for Blacks, due to the higher number of Whites in the country there were more arrests of Whites for marijuana crimes. 460,808 Whites were arrested for marijuana crimes in 2010, compared to 286,117 Blacks.

(Additional marijuana facts and information.)

Source:  Associated Press, “Marijuana arrests more likely for African Americans,” USA Today, June 4, 2013.

Security forces in Ecuador seized and destroyed 4.6 tons of marijuana in 2011.

In 2012, anti-narcotics agencies seized and destroyed nearly 10.7 tons of marijuana.

Source:  James Bargent, “Marijuana Production Spreading Throughout Ecuador,” Insight Crime, June 5, 2013.

According to estimates by security and intelligence agencies, an estimated 345 tons of cocaine is produced in Colombia each year. Out of this total, around 20 percent, or 70 tons, is consumed domestically in the country. The cocaine used in Colombia is generally used in a powder form or in the cheaper form of cocaine base.

640 tons of marijuana is consumed in Colombia each year, with only 30 percent of the marijuana produced in Colombia being exported to other countries.

(Price of cocaine around the world.)

Source:  James Bargent, “Growing Local Drug Market Fuels Colombia’s Underworld,” Insight Crime, May 29, 2013.

In 2010, states across America spent an estimated $3.6 Billion during the year in enforcing marijuana laws and arresting users. The amount of money spent by criminal justice programs in the states was 30 percent higher than the amount spend in 2000.

About half of all drug arrests in 2010 and 2011 were on marijuana-related offenses.

Source:  Ian Urbina, “Blacks Are Singled Out for Marijuana Arrests, Federal Data Suggests,” New York Times, June 3, 2013.

Additional security threats and crimes in the United States.

Security agents in Costa Rica has seen an increase in pharmaceutical drugs that have been trafficked into the country from Nicaragua.

618 units of pharmaceutical drugs were seized in Costa Rica in 2010. The following year, the number of seizures rose to 4,315, and rose again to 7,323 in 2012. In the first four months of 2013, authorities seized 67,381 units of pharmaceutical drugs.

According to law enforcement, the types of drugs smuggled from Nicaragua include analgesics, antibiotics, multivitamins and steroids. The drugs are purchased at a lower price in Nicaragua and are smuggled into Costa Rica by smugglers riding the bus.

(See all statistics about prescription drug abuse.)

Source:  Mario Carrillo, “Costa Rica Sees Explosion of Pharmaceutical Drug Smuggling,” Insight Crime, May 28, 2013.