In their 2017 World Drug Report, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime found that cannabis is the most used, most cultivated, and most confiscated drug – but has still not caused a single fatal overdose. The report covers worldwide statistics from 2015.
According to the UN report, it’s estimated that between 128 million and 238 million adults used cannabis in 2015, representing an average of about 3.8 percent of the adult population. Cannabis cultivation was reported in 136 countries, compared to 49 who reported opium poppy cultivation and just eight who reported coca bush cultivation – the plant used to make cocaine. Cannabis was seized in 164 of 168 of the world’s nations.
Paraguay led the world in cannabis eradication from 2011 to 2015, destroying 12,122,750 plants. Ukraine eradicated 7,550,000 during that time; while Peru destroyed 6,200,578. The U.S. doesn’t provide statistics on plant counts, but reported it had eradicated 396,620 indoor cultivation operations and 3,904,213 outdoor operations.
The report indicated that overdose deaths have more than tripled between 1999 and 2015, increasing 11.4 percent in the past year alone “to reach the highest level ever recorded.” The agency says those deaths are “mostly driven by opioids.”
“Of the 52,000 total drug-related deaths reported for the United States, those related to opioids accounted for more than 60 percent,” the report states. “In 2015, the death rate from synthetic opioids, increased by 72 percent compared with the previous year, whereas heroin overdose deaths increased by 23 percent over the same period.”
So-called ‘cannabis use disorders’ contributed to 5.3 “healthy years of life lost” – the lowest rate for any of the substances tracked by the UN agency.