Infographic: Worldwide Guide Shows Who’s Addicted to What

By Brent McCluskey 07/27/15

Researchers pored through data collected from around the world.

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Information on addiction rates of various countries and people groups is nothing new, but having all that data compiled into a single comprehensive guide certainly is.

Researchers pored through data from around the world, including the World Health Organization, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and many other sources. They collected statistics like how many people use alcohol, tobacco, and drugs, how often, and how harmful it is for their health. The end result is a list of who’s addicted to what, and allows researchers to make some interesting observations.

“We thought it would be extremely useful, and a good start, to have it all in one place,” said lead author Dr. Linda Gowing.

Alcohol use was one of the statistics Gowing collected. By comparing percentages of men and women from around the world who consumed alcohol within the last 12 months, a picture begins to develop of global alcohol use, though not necessarily addiction.

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Not surprisingly, Europe had the highest percentage of both men and women who had consumed alcohol within the last 12 months, weighing in at 72% for men and 56% for women. Africa, on the other hand, trailed far behind, with the totals being 42% for men and only 16% for women.

Gowing also noted some stark differences in alcohol use between regions, and also between genders.

“One thing that stands out is countries that are predominantly Muslim have a much lower rate of alcohol consumption,” said Gowing, adding that alcohol consumption drops in less developed countries.

Gowing also collected data on illicit drug use, noting that it’s inherently difficult to collect because its use is generally hidden from the public eye. However, the researchers were able to conclude that nearly 15 million people worldwide inject heroin and other drugs.

“You can begin to gauge what’s happening, what’s working and what isn’t working,” said Gowing. “These are, after all, solvable problems.”

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Brent McCluskey is a Social Media Editor at International Business Times as well as a Jedi with Sith tendencies.  He is also a reader of books, slayer of dragons, and level 80 mage.

“Yeah, I have a broad skill set. If I had to pick between being a Divergent or a wizard, I'd pick a wizard.”  His wizardness can be found on Twitter and Linkedin.