When we think of the addiction epidemic, we generally only think in terms of only America’s problem. The truth is, addiction is a global epidemic.
So what is being done? In September 2018, the United Nations held a special “narcotics event” to address the addiction crisis, focused particularly on opioids. Some main topics of discussion were:
- Securing borders from international drug trafficking.
- Increasing law enforcement efforts.
- Devoting funding to curbing and treating addiction.
- Promote treatment for current addicts.
At the Summit, the U.S. issued a global call to action, which called for:
- Reduce demand for drugs
- Cut supply off from traffickers and dealers
- Expand current treatment options
- Encourage cooperation between countries to address the issue
UN Research on Global Drug Use
One of the UN’s primary functions related to substance abuse is to gather data and study the issue, so they can determine how to best take action. According to their research:
- About 246 million people between ages 15 and 64 worldwide use drugs every year.
- That’s about 1 in 20 people who use drugs.
- About 200,000 people die from drug related deaths every year.
- About 25% of those are in the U.S. alone.
- The U.S. has the most deadly drug issue in the world.
What Can the UN Do?
The United Nations is just beginning to be active in drug prevention and treatment for UN countries. The first step is to implement a firm policy that all UN countries agree on. They also need to come up with a firm plan to address international trafficking, which is a massive issue. About 80% of the Fentanyl that is plaguing America is trafficked in from China.
It’s a long road ahead to overcome the issue, but it is a sign of progress that the UN is taking this seriously and actively working on it.