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 2011, police in Germany seized 1.4 tons of methamphetamine and amphetamine within the country, a record amount of seizures.

In addition to an increase in trafficking, the number of first-time crystal meth users in Germany identified by the criminal justice industry increased by 163 percent in 2011.

(More meth facts and arrests figures.)

Source:  Joel Stonington, “New Exhibit Highlights Germany’s Growing Meth Problem,” Spiegel Online, July 6, 2012.

According to the Counternarcotics Minister of Afghanistan, the Taliban earned at least $155 Million from poppy cultivation and the opium trade in 2012.

The Government of Afghanistan reported that 102 police officers, soldiers and civilians were killed from attacks by poppy farmers and the Taliban during eradication efforts throughout the year. An additional 127 people were injured during the eradication efforts.

(How much does heroin cost?)

Along with the Taliban, opium farmers in Afghanistan are invested in to the drug smuggling industry. According to reports, a farmer can earn up to $120 per hectare when growing wheat in Afghanistan. If that farmer were to plant poppy seeds and harvest opium, that same hectare of land can result up to $10,000 a year.

(More illegal ways to make money.)

Source:  Alissa J. Rubin, “Opium Cultivation Rose This Year in Afghanistan, U.N. Survey Shows,” New York Times, November 20, 2012.

A study conducted for California’s State Highway Department found that on any given Friday or Saturday night, up to 7 percent of all drivers test positive for marijuana use. The 7 percent figure means that traces of marijuana was found in their blood, and does not mean that they were impaired to drive.

(Click for marijuana prices from around the world.)

Source:  Maia Szalavitz, “7% of California Drivers Test Positive for Marijuana, but Are They Impaired?,” Time, November 20, 2012.

Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas is estimated to be earning between $22 Million to $25 Million by illegally mining coal near the US border.

The cartels either mine the coal themselves or purchase it from small operators and then sell the coal to the state-owned mine company and make a profit up to 30 times their investment.

The Zetas either produce or purchase up to 10,000 tons of coal a week.

(More illegal and criminal profits here.)

Source:  AFP, “Mexican druglords strike gold in coal,” Google News, November 18, 2012.

In the Boston region of Massachusetts, latest available data published in 2012 reported that emergency room visits for heroin addiction was 251 per 100,000. The national average for emergency room visits for heroin is 69 per 100,000.

The Boston area also had the most emergency room visits for all illegal drugs out of all large metropolitan regions in the United States, passing cities such as New York and Chicago.

(See the price to buy heroin on the black market.)

Source:  Associated Press, “Health report: Mass. struggling with illicit drugs,”, November 13, 2012.


As of 2012, the medical marijuana industry in the United States was generating $1.7 Billion  a year.

In the state of Colorado, the medical marijuana industry is worth $300 Million a year. With the state legalizing recreational sales of the drug in November 2012, an increase of $60 Billion in state and local taxes in expected to increase.

(See marijuana prices worldwide.)

Source:  Michelle Castillo, “Legal marijuana may lead to booming business in Colo.,” CBS News, November 9, 2012.

Marijuana grown in the Canadian province of British Columbia is estimated to make up 60 percent of the country’s total marijuana production.

The value of the marijuana grown in British Columbia is estimated to be in the $6 to $9 Billion (6 to 9 Billion Canadian) range.

(World Marijuana Prices.)

Source:  Sunny Dhillon, “U.S. marijuana vote threatens to nip B.C. market in the bud,” Globe and Mail, November 8, 2012.

In 2012, the financial value of opium produced in Laos and Myanmar was estimated to be worth $431 Million, according to the United Nations. The value of the opium from the two countries was a third higher than in 2011.

The farm-gate prices for a kilogram of opium in Laos was reported to be $1,800. In Myanmar, the farm gate price of a kilogram was $520.

(Cost to buy heroin for sale on the black market.)

38,000 households are involved in the growing of opium in Laos, and 300,000 households grow the drug in Myanmar.

(All heroin facts and statistics.)

Source:  “Asia drug boom fuels surge in opium cultivation,” Bangkok Post, October 31, 2012.

An estimated 55,000 people in Mexico are forced to work for the drug trafficking organizations against their will, according to a report by a Mexico news site.

The people involved in the forced labor include children who sell drugs on street corners and immigrants who are threatened with death and ordered to carry illicit drugs across the border in to the United States.

In addition, 36 engineers are reportedly being held by the cartels and ordered to create a private cellphone network.

Source:  Manuel Rueda, “Mexican Cartels Have Enslaved at Least 55,000 People, Investigation Claims,” ABC News Univision, October 31, 2012.

According to the National Human Rights Commission in Mexico, there are 16,000 bodies that were found during the six-year drug war that have not been identified. In total, there are about 24,000 people reported missing from the conflict.

(All drug trafficking statistics.)

Source:  Tom Bateman, “Searching for Mexico’s drug war ‘disappeared’,” BBC News, October 30, 2012.