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date: 09 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Although illicit drug use has been documented across the world, the quality of these estimates is best in the developed countries of Europe, North America, and Australasia. Regular use, “problem drug use,” and drug dependence are less frequently measured but are important to quantify in order to identify disease burden. This paper reviews European, North American, and Australasian estimates of illicit drug use, problem drug use, and drug dependence and presents risk factors of illicit drug use. These risk factors include health risks related to cannabis and mortality associated with problem drug use and injecting drug use. Drug-related morbidity is reviewed, including nonfatal overdose, HIV/AIDS, and hepatitis B and C. Future research needs to focus on obtaining better estimates of mortality and morbidity to better understand the harms associated with illicit drug dependence.

Keywords: Illicit drug, use, dependence, burden of disease, mortality, morbidity

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