UN report: Two-thirds of drug use disorder deaths in 2017 were from opioid use

UN report: Two-thirds of drug use disorder deaths in 2017 were from opioid use
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Two-thirds of global deaths from drug use disorders in 2017 were due to opioid use, according to a new United Nations report.

Opioid use accounted for 110,000 of 167,000 deaths, the 2019 World Drug report found.

The report pointed to an increase in opioid overdose deaths in North America, and noted increases in the use of fentanyl and similar drugs.

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In 2017, 585,000 people died from drug use and about 35 million suffered from drug use disorders.

The report said that prevention and treatment for drug use disorders "continue to fall far short" of needs in many places, particularly in prisons. 

The report also found that in 2017, U.S. overdose deaths reached a record number of 70,237, a 10.4 percent increase from 2016. Opioids accounted for 68 percent, or 47,600, of those deaths. 

"The findings of this year’s World Drug Report fill in and further complicate the global picture of drug challenges, underscoring the need for broader international cooperation to advance balanced and integrated health and criminal justice responses to drug supply and demand," wrote Yury Fedotov, the executive director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, in the report's preface.