Dmitri N. Shalin

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The Social Health of Nevada: Leading Indicators and Quality of Life in the Silver State


UNLV: Center for Democratic Culture Publications

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Substance abuse is known to cause a host of problems for individual users, their communities, and society as a whole. Its cost is staggering, as measured by lost productivity, medical illness, serious injuries, and premature death, as well as by resources required to run criminal justice system and special education programs (Meara & Frank, 2005). The substance abuse problem is global in scope. Consider these figures released by the United Nations’ 2005 World Drug Report[WDR] (United Nations, Office on Drug and Crime, 2005),

  • In 2003-2004, about 200 million people, or 5% of the world’s population age 15-64, had used illicit drugs at least once in the last 12 months – 15 million more than in 2002-2003.
  • Many more currently use legal psychoactive substances like tobacco (about 30% of the world’s adult population) and alcohol (about 50%).
  • The number of cannabis (marijuana) users worldwide is now close to 160 million people or 4% of the population age 15-64.
  • An estimated 26 million people now use amphetamines and 8 million use ecstasy – a slightly lower figure than the one given in the previous year’s WDR.
  • The number of opiate users is estimated to have risen slightly and now stands at about16 million people worldwide (11 million of which abuse heroin).
  • The number of cocaine users has grown slightly and is now estimated to be close to 14 million people (Executive Summary, U.N. 2005 World Drug Report).


Alcoholism; Drug abuse; Drug abuse--Treatment--Evaluation; Marijuana abuse


Community-Based Research | Law | Sociology