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Alcohol, tobacco pose bigger health threat that illicit drugs

Press Trust of India  |  London 

and alcohol pose a greater threat to human health around the globe than the use of all other addictive, illicit drugs, scientists say.

A study, published in the journal Addiction, showed that in 2015 alcohol and use between them cost the human population more than a quarter of a billion disability-adjusted life years, with illicit drugs costing a further tens of millions.

Researchers including those from in Australia and in the UK found that the largest health burden from substance use was attributable to smoking and the smallest was attributable to illicit drugs.

Global estimates suggest that nearly one in seven adults (15.2 per cent) smoke tobacco and one in five adults report at least one occasion of heavy alcohol use in the past month.

Compared with the rest of the world, Central, Eastern, and recorded consistently higher alcohol consumption per capita (11.61, 11.98 and 11.09 litres, respectively) and a higher percentage of heavy consumption amongst drinkers (50.5 per cent, 48.2 per cent, and 40.2 per cent, respectively).

The same European regions also recorded the highest prevalence of tobacco smoking (24.2 per cent, 23.7 per cent, and 20.9 per cent).

In contrast, use of illicit drugs was far less common. Fewer than one in twenty people were estimated to use cannabis in the past year, and much lower estimates were observed for amphetamines, opioids and cocaine. Hotspots included the US, Canada, and

The US and had one of the highest rates of cannabis, opioid, and had the highest prevalence of amphetamine dependence, as well as high rates of cannabis, opioid and cocaine use dependence (693.7, 509.9 , and 160.5 per 100,000 people, respectively).

Some countries and regions (eg Africa, and Latin America, regions) have little or no data on substance use and associated health burden.

These are typically low or middle income countries that frequently have punitive policies, and may experience serious political and social unrest.

These countries need enhanced monitoring because they are at risk of rapid escalation in substance use and related health burden.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, May 13 2018. 11:05 IST