What is the global prevalence of heroin use?

Updated: Dec 16, 2018
  • Author: Rania Habal, MD; Chief Editor: Jeter (Jay) Pritchard Taylor, III, MD  more...
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According to the 2017 report of the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC), the global prevalence of opiate (heroin and opium) use was estimated at 0.37% of the population, or 12.9-23.6 million people. Levels of opiate use were much higher than the global average in the Near and Middle East/Southwest Asia (1.40%), Central Asia (0.90%), and Eastern and Southeastern Europe (0.85%). [1]

In its 2014 annual report, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) estimated that there were 1.4 million regular opioid users in Europe, or 0.41 % of the adult population, with heroin being by far the most widely used opioid. The EMCDDA reported that although patterns and trends vary among countries, Europe may be witnessing a longer-term decline in heroin use, for reasons that may include reduced interest in the drug and reduced availability of it. [2, 4]

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