n African Journal of Psychiatry - The burden of disease : substance abuse in South Africa : patients as partners

Volume 14, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1994-8220



Substance use and abuse is becoming a major public health problem, both internationally and in South Africa. Globally, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates that between 155 and 250 million people, or 3.5% to 5.7% of the population aged 15-64 years, had used illicit substances at least once in the previous year. The 2010 World Drug Report published by the UNODC states that cannabis (marijuana) users comprise the largest number of illicit drug users (129-190 million), with amphetamine-type stimulants (e.g. methamphetamine) being the second most commonly used illicit drugs, followed by opiates and cocaine.

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