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Research publications provide useful insights into all aspects of drugs and alcohol, from use prevention to treatment and from family support to local and national policy.

In this section we have listed global reports from 2000 onwards, by year of publication.

If you wish to suggest additional papers for inclusion in this section of our website please contact us at or call us on 01 960 3004.


2018 open/close

International Standards on Drug Use Prevention

© United Nations, February 2015. All rights reserved, worldwide.

These global international standards summarize the currently available scientific evidence, describing interventions and policies that have been found to result in positive prevention outcomes and their characteristics. Concurrently, the global International Standards identify the major components and features of an effective national drug prevention system.
2017 open/close

WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence: thirty-eighth report.

World Health Organization. [WHO] (2017) WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence: thirty-eighth report. Geneva: World Health Organization. 56 p. WHO


World drug report 2017.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. [UNODC] (2017) World drug report 2017. Vienna: United Nations.

In 2015 about a quarter of a billion people used drugs. Of these, around 29.5 million people - or 0.6 per cent of the global adult population - were engaged in problematic use and suffered from drug use disorders, including dependence. Opioids were the most harmful drug type and accounted for 70 per cent of the negative health impact associated with drug use disorders worldwide, according to the latest World Drug Report, released today by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Report of the International Narcotics Control Board for 2016.

International Narcotics Control Board. [INCB] (2017) Report of the International Narcotics Control Board for 2016. New York: United Nations. 132 p.


Good Policy And Practice In Health Education: Education Sector Responses To The Use Of Alcohol, Tobacco And Drugs

UNESCO/ UNODC/ WHO (2017).Good Policy And Practice In Health Education: Education Sector Responses To The Use Of Alcohol, Tobacco And Drugs


Global SMART update 2017. Fentanyl and its analogues - 50 years on

Global SMART Programme. [UNODC] (2017) Global SMART update 2017. Fentanyl and its analogues - 50 years on. Vienna: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. 12 p

The latest SMART update - number 17, under the theme " Fentanyl and its analogues - 50 years on" - includes information on the growing complexity of the opioid market, in particular the fentanyl group, international controls, evolving patterns of use and associated risks, global developments in manufacture and trafficking of fentanyl analogues and their precursors.


2016 open/close

Do no harm. Health, human rights and people who use drugs.

UNAIDS. (2016) Geneva ,UNAIDS

Evidence supports the need for a shift in the global approach to drug use. In this report, Do no harm: health, human rights and people who use drugs, UNAIDS shows what works to reduce the impact of HIV and other harms related to drug use. Countries that have moved away from laws and policies that are harmful to people who use drugs and that have increased investment in harm reduction have reduced new HIV infections and improved health outcomes. These policies also deliver broader social benefits, such as lower levels of drug-related crime and reduced pressure on health-care and criminal justice systems.

The health and social effects of nonmedical cannabis use.

Hall, Wayne and Renstrom, Maria and Poznyak, Vladimir, eds. (2016) World Health Organization

Cannabis is globally the most commonly used psychoactive substance under international control. In 2013, an estimated 181.8 million people aged 15-64 years used cannabis for nonmedical purposes globally (uncertainty estimates 128.5–232.1 million) (UNODC, 2015). There is an increasing demand of treatment for cannabis use disorders and associated health conditions in high- and middle-income countries, and there has been increased attention to the public health aspects of cannabis use and related disorders in international drug policy dialogues. This publication builds on contributions from a broad range of experts and researchers from different parts of the world. It aims to present the current knowledge on the impact of nonmedical cannabis use on health.


How does the alcohol industry attempt to influence marketing regulations? A systematic review.

Savell, Emily and Fooks, Gary and Gilmore, Anna B (2016) Addiction, 111 (1). pp. 18-32.

Aim: To systematically review, using a qualitative, narrative synthesis approach, papers examining alcohol industry efforts to influence alcohol marketing policy, and compare with those used by the tobacco industry.
Results: Five main political strategies and five main frames were identified. The alcohol industry argues against marketing regulation by emphasizing industry responsibility and the effectiveness of self-regulation, questioning the effectiveness of statutory regulation and by focusing on individual responsibility. Arguments relating to industry responsibility are often reinforced through corporate social responsibility activities. The industry primarily conveys its arguments through manipulating the evidence base and by promoting ineffective voluntary codes and non-regulatory initiatives.



2015 open/close

HIV and young people who inject drugs. Technical brief.

World Health Organization. (2015) World Health Organization, Geneva .

Key populations at higher risk of HIV include people who sell sex, men who have sex with men, transgender people and people who inject drugs. Young people who belong to one or more of these key populations – or who engage in activities associated with these populations – are made especially vulnerable to HIV by widespread criminalisation, discrimination, stigma and violence, combined with the particular vulnerabilities of youth, power imbalances in relationships and, sometimes, alienation from family and friends. These factors increase the risk that they may engage – willingly or not – in behaviours that put them at risk of HIV, such as frequent unprotected sex and the sharing of needles and syringes to inject drugs.

This brief aims to catalyse and inform discussions about how best to provide health services, programmes and support for young people who inject drugs. It offers a concise account of current knowledge concerning the HIV risk and vulnerability of young people who inject drugs; the barriers and constraints they face to appropriate services; examples of programmes that may work well in addressing their needs and rights; and approaches and considerations for providing services that both draw upon and build the strengths, competencies and capacities of young people who inject drugs.



World Health Organization. (2015) Preventing youth violence: an overview of the evidence. World Health Organization, Geneva .

Twenty-one strategies to prevent youth violence are reviewed, including programmes relating to parenting, early childhood development, and social skills development, as well as policies related to the harmful use of alcohol, problem oriented policing, and urban upgrading.



2015 global reference list of 100 core health indicators.

World Health Organization. (2015) World Health Organization, Geneva.


Report on the global tobacco epidemic, 2015: raising taxes on tobacco.

World Health Organization. (2015) World Health Organization, Geneva.


Alcohol advertising and sponsorship in formula one: a dangerous cocktail. 

Eurocare, Institute of Alcohol Studies, Monash University. (2015) Eurocare. 18 p.

Alcohol advertising and sponsorship in sport is a contested issue, with the major medical and public health institutions in Europe calling for a ban, similar to the ban on tobacco sports sponsorship. This report reviews the available literature on the relationship between exposure to alcohol sports sponsorship and consumption.

Effectiveness of bystander naloxone administration and overdose education programs: a meta-analysis.

Giglio, R. E. and Li, G. and DiMaggio, C. J.  (2015) Springer. Injury Epidemiology, 2 (10) 10.1186/s40621-015-0041-8

The objective of this review was to assess the effectiveness of bystander naloxone administration and overdose education programs by synthesizing quantitative results reported in the research literature. Studies meeting predefined criteria were identified and reviewed, and their results were synthesized through meta-analysis. Pooled data from four studies showed that naloxone administration by bystanders was associated with a significantly increased odds of recovery compared with no naloxone administration
2014 open/close


Community management of opioid overdose.

World Health Organization. (2014) World Health Organization. 

An estimated 69 000 people die each year from opioid overdose. Opioid overdose is easily reversed with the opioid antidote naloxone and with basic life support. Such care is generally only available in medical settings, however. These guidelines recommend that people who are likely to witness an opioid overdose, including people who use opioids, and their family and friends should be given access to naloxone and training in its use so that they can respond to opioid overdose in an emergency if a medical response is not available. 


Determining the impact of opioid substitution therapy upon mortality and recidivism among prisoners: A 22 year data linkage study.

Gisev, N., Larney, S., Kimber, J., Burns, L., Weatherburn, D., Gibson, A., Dobbins, T., Mattick, R., Butler, T. and Degenhardt, L. [NDARC] , (2014) National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre. 45 p. NDARC Technical report no. 330

Prisoners experience very high rates of drug dependence, health problems and premature mortality. Without intervention they are highly likely to come into further contact with the criminal justice system, creating further health risk. Opioid dependence is a common problem among prisoners, and opioid substitution therapy (with methadone and buprenorphine) for opioid dependence may be an effective intervention in preventing morbidity, mortality and offending. Using retrospective data linkage, this study evaluated engagement with treatment, patterns of offending, incarceration and mortality among opioid-dependent people who received OST in New South Wales, Australia, at some time between 1985-2010. We linked all OST records with data on all court appearances 1993-2011, custody episodes 2000-2012, and mortality 1985-2012. 



The impact of alcohol use disorders on family life: a review of the empirical literature.

Hutchinson, D. M. & Mattick, R. P. & Braunstein, D. & Maloney, E. & Wilson, J. (2014) National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre. 110 p. NDARC technical report number: 325

This report aimed to review the empirical literature on the impact of parental alcohol use disorders on family life. The report focused specifically on harms inflicted by the problematic consumption of alcohol on members of the family, particularly spouses and children, and on the functioning of the family unit as a whole. 



World drug report 2014.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. (2014) United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Vienna 

The World Drug Report provides an annual overview of the major developments in drug markets for the various drug categories, ranging from production to trafficking, including development of new routes and modalities, as well as consumption.



Ending the drug wars: Report of the LSE expert group on the economics of drug policy

LSE Expert Group on the Economics of Drug Policy (2014) The London School of Economics and Political Science, London

This report asserts that a new and effective international strategy could emerge if two approaches are followed. First, resources should be drastically reallocated away from law enforcement and repressive policies towards proven public health policies of harm reduction and treatment, with governments ensuring that these services are fully resourced to meet requirements. Second, rigorously monitored policy and regulatory experimentation should be encouraged. States should be allowed to pursue new initiatives, the report argues, in order to determine which policies work and which don't. The places that legalise cannabis first will provide an external benefit to the rest of the world in the form of knowledge regardless of how the experiments turn out. As a result, pioneering jurisdictions should be accepted as long as they take adequate measures to prevent ‘exports’.



Global status report on alcohol and health 2014

 World Health Organization (2014)

The Global status report on alcohol and health 2014 presents a comprehensive perspective on the global, regional and country consumption of alcohol, patterns of drinking, health consequences and policy responses in Member States

Access the full report


Regional drug strategies across the world.

Ballotta, Danilo (2014) Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg.

This paper offers a comparison of the drug strategies and plans adopted over the last five years by six intergovernmental organisations engaging 148 countries in four continents. It informs decision-makers, professionals and researchers working in the area of international drug policy about the way in which countries of the same region have decided to strategically approach drug-related security, social and health problems.



2013 open/close



UNAIDS report on the global AIDS epidemic 2013.

Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). (2013) UNAIDS; World Health Organization, Geneva.

The 2013 report on the global AIDS epidemic contains the latest data on numbers of new HIV infections, numbers of people receiving antiretroviral treatment, AIDS-related deaths and HIV among children.



WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic, 2013. Enforcing bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship

World Health Organization. (2013)

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) recognizes the substantial harm caused by tobacco use and the critical need to prevent it. Tobacco kills approximately 6 million people and causes more than half a trillion dollars of economic damage each year. Tobacco will kill as many as 1 billion people this century if the WHO FCTC is not implemented rapidly.

Opioid overdose: preventing and reducing opioid overdose mortality

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. (2013)

Although data are limited, an estimated 70,000-100,000 people die from opioid overdose each year. Opioid overdose was the main cause of the estimated 99,000-253,000 deaths worldwide related to illicit drug use in 2010.1 Opioid overdose is both preventable and, if witnessed, treatable (reversible). In its resolution 55/7 on promoting measures to prevent drug overdose, in particular opioid overdose, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs called upon Member States to include effective measures to prevent and treat drug overdose in national drug policies.2 In that resolution, the Commission requested the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), to collect and circulate available best practices on the prevention and treatment of and emergency response to drug overdose, in particular opioid overdose, including on the use and availability of opioid receptor antagonists such as naloxone and other measures based on scientific evidence.
This discussion paper outlines the facts about opioid overdose, the actions that can be taken to prevent and treat (reverse) opioid overdose and areas requiring further investigation.



World drug report 2013

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. (2013)

The use of traditional drugs such as heroin and cocaine seems to be declining in some parts of the world, prescription drug abuse and new psychoactive substance abuse is growing. In a special high-level event of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov urged concerted action to prevent the manufacture, trafficking and abuse of these substances.


2012 open/close
2011 open/close


World Drug Report 2011

United Nations Office on Drugs and crime, 2011

The World Drug Report presents comprehensive information on the illicit drug situation. This year's edition starts with an overview of the illicit drug situation worldwide and regionally, followed by more comprehensive discussions and statistical trends for the key transnational drug markets, namely opium/heroin, coca/cocaine, amphetamine-type stimulants and cannabis.


2010 open/close
2009 open/close


World Drug Report 2009

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Vienna, Austria, 2009

The World Drug Report presents comprehensive information on the illicit drug situation. This year, for the first time, the World Drug Report includes special feature sections on the quality of drug data available, trends in drug use among young people and police-recorded drug offences.
2008 open/close


World Drug Report 2008

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Vienna, Austria, 2008

The World Drug Report presents comprehensive information on the illicit drug situation. The drug problem is being contained but there are warning signs that the stabilisation which has occurred over the last few years could be in danger.
2007 open/close


World Drug Report 2007

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Vienna, Austria, 2007

The World Drug Report presents the most comprehensive statistical view of today's illicit drug situation. This year's edition reports signs of long-term containment of the global problem. However, the overall trend masks contrasting regional situations, which the report examines in detail.
2006 open/close
2005 open/close
2004 open/close
2003 open/close
2002 open/close
2001 open/close


Global Illicit Drug Trends 2001

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Vienna, Austria, 2001

Reporting on a largely clandestine sector where information is by definition difficult to obtain, Global Illicit Drug Trends constitutes at present the most comprehensive published source of estimates and statistics on the global drug problem.
2000 open/close






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