Global Burden of Substance Use, Mental Disorders Quantified

(HealthDay News) – The global burdens of mental and substance abuse disorders and illicit drug dependence have been quantified, according to two studies published online Aug. 29 in The Lancet.

Harvey A. Whiteford, MPH, from the University of Queensland in Herston, Australia, and colleagues used data from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2010 (GBD 2010) to examine the burden of disease attributed to mental and substance use disorders, as measured by years of life lived with disability (YLDs), years of life lost (YLLs), and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). The researchers found that mental health and substance use disorders accounted for 183.9 million DALYs (7.4% of DALYs worldwide); 8.6 million YLLs; and 175.3 million YLDs. Mental and substance use disorders represented the main cause of YLDs worldwide. Of the DALYs caused by mental and substance use disorders, depressive disorders accounted for 40.5%; anxiety disorders, 14.6%; illicit drug use, 10.9%; and alcohol use disorders, 9.6%.

Louisa Degenhardt, PhD, from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, and colleagues used data from the GBD 2010 to assess the prevalence and burden of drug dependence, as measured by YLDs, YLLs, and DALYs. The researchers found that, in 2010, illicit drug dependence accounted for 20 million DALYs (0.8% of global all-cause DALYs). Opioid dependence was the largest contributor to the burden of DALYs. The proportion of DALYs attributed to drug dependence varied 20-fold across regions, with countries with the highest incomes experiencing an increased proportion of burden.

“Illicit drug use is an important contributor to the global burden of disease,” Degenhardt and colleagues write.

One author from the Degenhardt study disclosed receiving funding from Reckitt Benckiser to conduct post-marketing surveillance of buprenorphine-naloxone.

Abstract – Whiteford
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Abstract – Degenhardt
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