About 240 million people (nearly 5% of the world’s adult population) have an alcohol use disorder and over 1 billion people (over 20% of the adult population) smoke tobacco, according to the “Global Statistics on Addictive Behaviours: 2014 Status Report.” Findings from the study are published in the journal Addiction.

Regionally, Eastern Europe had the heaviest drinkers at 13.6L of alcohol per head of population of each year, as well as the most smokers at 30% of adults. Northern Europe had the second highest amount of heaviest drinkers at 11.5L followed by Central, Southern, and Western Asia at 2.1L. Oceania had the second highest amount of smokers at 29.5% followed by 28.5% in Western Europe, 14% in Africa.

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The report also describes how societal harm from legal drugs is much greater than the harm from illicit drugs. It is estimated that about 15 million people are using heroin and cannabis worldwide. The highest rate of injecting drug use was in North and Central America and the Caribbean at 0.8%, more than double the rate in Northern Europe at 0.3%.

Though there are limitations to the data, study authors believe this global resource can be valuable to policymakers and researchers.

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