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.

89 percent of the world’s opium seizures in 2010 took place in Iran due to its location next to Afghanistan.

In 2009, 85 percent of total world opium seizures took place in Iran.

(See more heroin statistics.)

Source: “Police Seize 700kg of Illicit Drugs in Southeastern Iran in One Day,” Fars News Agency, July 9, 2011.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy reported that the US Government spent $15.1 Billion in 2010 to fight the “War on Drugs”.

Source: Oliver Renick, “Prescription Drugs Cause More Overdoses in U.S. Than Heroin and Cocaine,” Bloomberg, July 7, 2011.

According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of deaths due to prescription drugs  was four times the rate of deaths due to illicit drugs such as cocaine and heroin.

In the state of Florida, 76 percent of all overdose deaths involved prescription drugs, with 34 percent of overdose deaths involved illegal drugs.

Across the United States, 29,846 people overdosed on prescription drugs and died in 2007.

(More statistics on prescription drug abuse.)

Source: Oliver Renick, “Prescription Drugs Cause More Overdoses in U.S. Than Heroin and Cocaine,” Bloomberg, July 7, 2011.

A study funded by the US Agency for International Development found that 50,000 people were kidnapped in Mexico in 2008 alone.

Between 2007 and 2010, the Mexican government initiated 1,880 kidnapping investigations. Of the total number of cases, the police actively pursued 23 percent of the cases.

Source: Elizabeth Dickinson, “Foreign Policy: Missing In Mexico,” NPR, July 7, 2011.

In July 2011, there were nearly 40,000 drug users who were being treated for their addiction in Portugal.

In the early 1990s, there were an estimated 100,000 drug addicts in the country. The drop in hard-core users is due to the country decriminalizing drugs and forcing users to enter drug treatment instead of the criminal justice system.

Source: AFP, “Portugal drug law show results ten years on, experts say,” Google News, July 1, 2011.


16.3 percent of all drivers at night in the United States were under the influence of various legal and illegal drugs, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Half of the drivers with drugs in their system smoked marijuana.

In the state of California alone, nearly 1,000 deaths and injuries are caused by driving under the influence of drugs.

Source: Ralph Vartabedian, “Stoned drivers are uncharted territory,” Los Angeles Times, July 2, 2011.

The United Nations Office on Crime and Drugs estimates that there are between 900,000 to 1,000,000 users of illegal drugs in Brazil.

Source: “Brazil Becomes Big Drug Consumer – UN Report,” Bernama, June 27, 2011.

One-quarter of all cocaine that is produced in Colombia and Peru is smuggled through Ecuador to reach the United States.

The amount of cocaine that travels through Ecuador is estimated to be 200 tons.

(Additional cocaine facts and information.)

Source: Chris Kraul, “Drug trafficking on the rise through Ecuador,” Los Angeles Times, June 26, 2011.

The United Nations Office on Crime and Drugs estimates that around 210 million people around the world use an illegal drug each year.

Source: UNODC, “World Drug Report 2011,” Press Release, June 23, 2011.

According to the United Nations Office on Crime and Drugs, the heroin black market in Iran is worth $3 Billion  a year.

The majority of the revenue from heroin trafficking goes to organized crime groups within the country.

(More crime in Iran statistics.)

Source: UNODC, “World Drug Report 2011,” June 2011, page 83.