Smoking, drinking link to recreational drug use by young people: UN-backed report
PESHAWAR: The use of alcohol and tobacco by young people and children is closely linked to the use of illicit drugs, a UN-backed narcotics control body warned on Thursday.
The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) annual report cites studies which reveal that, in young people aged between 16 and 19, early use of alcohol, tobacco and cannabis leads to an increased likelihood of the use of opiates and cocaine in adulthood.
The report also shows that substance abuse and associated health consequences are highest among young people, with cannabis being the most widely used substance. The highest rate of use, in young people aged 15-16, is in Europe (13.9 per cent), followed by the Americas (11.6 per cent), Oceania (11.4 per cent), Africa (6.6 per cent), and Asia (2.7 per cent).
The decriminalization of cannabis in some countries is criticized by the INCB, whose President, Cornelis de Joncheere, said that, of internationally controlled substances, the drug continues to play the most prominent role amongst adolescents and adults. “We pay special attention to this development and highlight our concern over the situation in a few countries that have moved to permit the use of controlled substances, namely cannabis, for non-medical use contrary to the provisions of and their obligations under the drug control treaties”, de Joncheere said.
The report sets out several recommendations for countering the problem, based on international standards drawn up by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). – APP