More Australians and New Zealanders used cocaine and ecstasy in 2021 than anywhere else in the world, according to a new United Nations report.
The report found worldwide drug use has risen by 23% over the past decade, with almost 300 million people consuming drugs in 2021.
The findings are from an annual drug report from the UN’s Drugs and Crime Office, which compiled global drug data up to 2021.
Cocaine use in Australia and New Zealand
Cocaine use was “highest worldwide” in Australia and New Zealand. However, data suggests “most users… are occasional users”.
Ecstasy use was also “by far the highest worldwide” in Australia and New Zealand.
Cannabis use was “significantly higher than the global average”, with a “relatively high” use among high school students.
It comes as the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission said last month that cocaine traffickers are “likely” shipping as much, or more, cocaine to Australia than ever before.
Federal Government comments
A spokesperson for the Australian Department of Health acknowledged the results of the global report, saying that ecstasy use in Australia and New Zealand hadn’t risen in recent years.
Multiple programs to curb substance abuse were also underway in Australia.
The most-used drugs across the world in 2021:
- Cannabis (219 million people)
- Opioids (60 million)
- Amphetamines (36 million)
- Cocaine (22 million)
- Ecstasy (20 million)
The UN report found that synthetic drugs – which are artificially developed and cheaper and quicker to make – had “transformed” illicit drug markets across the world.
This included the sale of illegally-made fentanyl, an addictive synthetic drug. They have “drastically altered” the opioid market in North America. In 2021, most opioid-related deaths in North America involved illegally-made fentanyl.
Worldwide, young people were found to be most vulnerable to substance abuse. Also, health services were found to be struggling to keep up with drug-related demand.