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Opiate Use

0.5%

1%

1.5%

2%

2.5%

3%

3.5%

Click on a country for details.

Opiate Usage by Country 2024

The words opiate and opioid are often used interchangeably, but they are actually distinct terms. Opiates are a specific type of opioid that are derived from natural sources. Opioid, then, is an umbrella term covering both opiates and their synthetic copycats. Common opiates are opium, morphine, and heroin. Synthetic forms of opiates include fentanyl and many legally produced pharmaceuticals, which means that while they are opioids, they are not opiates.

When you hear the word "opiate," the phrase "opioid crisis" immediately springs to mind. The opioid crisis is a health trend around the rising number of opioid-related deaths. These overdoses began with prescription drugs in the 1990s and shifted to heroin around 2010, before synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl became more prevalent in 2013.

In the United States, the opioid crisis killed almost 645,000 people between 1999 and 2021. What makes this crisis so hard to address is that opioids exist in both legal and illegal forms, and it's not just the illegal forms killing people. In fact, the CDC's conservative estimate of deaths from prescription opioid overdose in 2021 is forty-five people per day.

This crisis is not contained to the United States. The United Nations Department of Drugs and Crime estimates that the number of people who use recreational opioids is 60 million, with over half of those people using opiates. This same report shows that 75% of opiate users are men, although only 53% of nonmedical users of pharmaceutical opioids are men.

Additionally, the report shows that 31% of countries ranked opioids as the number one drug leading to drug use disorders. While this is less than the 46% of countries that reported cannabis as the number one problem drug, opioids remain a devastating problem worldwide. Opioids caused 70% of deaths related to drug use disorder and 71% of the "healthy years of life lost owing to premature death and disability in 2019."

- All usage rates are given as a percentage of the country's total population.
- Data collection methodologies vary by country and include household surveys, school surveys, indirect estimates, and drug use registries.

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Country
Opiate Use
Opiate Use (Low)
Opiate Use (High)
Opiate Use (Female)
Opiate Use (Male)
Age Range
Specific Details
Data Year
Iran3.31% 15-64
Heroin, opium, opium remnant and opium residue
2015
Afghanistan2.65%2.34%2.96%1.3%3.9%15-64
2009
Seychelles2.3% 15-64
Opiates
2011
Egypt1.76%1.39%2.14% 15-64
Opium and heroin
2016
Poland1.7% 1.5%1.8%15-64
Includes "Kompot"
2016
Azerbaijan1.5%1.28%1.72% 15-64
Problem opiate users
2010
India1.42% 10-75
Includes heroin and opium
2018
Russia1.4%1.4%1.4% 15-64
Number of persons in treatment for heroin use disorders, adjusted with a (latency) multiplier of 5.
2010
Maldives1.34% 15-64
Includes prescription opioids
2012
Ukraine1.05%0.88%1.23% 15-64
Problem opiate users
2012
Kazakhstan1.03%0.97%1.08% 15-64
Heroin. Benchmark multipliers.
2015
Pakistan1%0.7%1.5%0.04%1.8%15-64
2012
United States0.94%0.76%1.12% 15-64
Heroin. Estimate aggregating chronic heroin users (ONDCP,RAND) and survey-based data (NSDUH).
2020
Malaysia0.94% 15-64
Problem opiate users
2009
Uzbekistan0.93%0.78%1.08% 15-64
Heroin. Benchmark multipliers.
2015
Ivory Coast0.9%0.86%0.94% 15-64
Opium, heroin, morphine
2017
Myanmar0.8%0.7%0.9% 15-64
Opiates
2010
Mauritius0.78% 15-64
Problem heroin users
2017
Belarus0.77% 15-64
Problem opiate users
2016
Italy0.76%0.72%0.79% 15-64
Problem heroin users
2019
United Kingdom0.74%0.73%0.77% 15-64
Data refers to 2016/17 for England. Problem opiate users.
2016
Georgia0.72%0.71%0.74% 15-64
2010
Morocco0.71% 15-64
Heroin
2017
Jamaica0.7%0.3%1.1% 15-64
Opiates
2006
Ireland0.62%0.61%0.7% 15-64
Problem opiate users
2014
Sri Lanka0.61% 0.02%1.24%15-64
Heroin
2019
Malta0.61% 15-64
Daily heroin users
2016
Latvia0.57%0.47%0.7% 15-64
Problem opiate users
2017
Austria0.54%0.52%0.55% 15-64
Problem opioid users
2019
Vietnam0.53% 15-64
Problem opiate users
2011
Tajikistan0.52%0.51%0.52% 15-64
Heroin. Benchmark multipliers.
2015
Portugal0.45%0.3%0.7% 15-64
Problem opiates use
2018
Albania0.45% 15-64
Problem opiate users
2007
Luxembourg0.45% 15-64
Problem opiate users
2015
Switzerland0.43%0.39%0.47% 15-64
Opiates
2015
South Africa0.41% 15-64
Opiates
2008
Israel0.4%0.3%0.5% 18-65
Opium and heroin
2016
Uruguay0.4% 18-65
Prevalence of heroin use among pasta base users. Respond Driven Sampling method.
2018
North Macedonia0.4%0.4%0.5% 15-64
Includes prescription opioids
2005
Nepal0.39% 15-50
Opiates
2019
Bangladesh0.37% 15-64
2003
Zambia0.37% 15-64
Opiates
2003
Laos0.37% 15-64
Opiates
2008
Bulgaria0.37% 15-64
Problem opiate users
2017
Croatia0.35% 15-64
Problem opiate users
2012
France0.32%0.31%0.33% 15-64
Problem heroin users
2019
Turkmenistan0.32% 15-64
2007
Singapore0.32%0.27%0.37% 15-64
2010
Romania0.3% 0.5%0.2%15-64
Heroin
2019
Bosnia and Herzegovina0.3% 15-64
Problem opiate users
2009
Belize0.3% 12-65
Opiates
2005
Norway0.27% 15-64
Problem opiate users
2013
Lithuania0.24%0.23%0.24% 15-64
Problem opiate users
2007
Germany0.22% 15-64
Problem opiate users
2014
Kenya0.22% 15-64
Problem opiate users
2012
Chad0.22% 15-64
Opiates
2004
Greece0.22%0.18%0.27% 15-64
Main substance of use: heroin
2019
Bahamas0.22% 15-64
2003
Spain0.21%0.14%0.28% 15-64
Problem heroin users
2018
Brazil0.2% 0.3%0.1%15-64
Heroin
2012
Thailand0.2% 15-64
Opiates
2007
Niger0.2% 15-64
Problem opiate users
2004
Taiwan0.2% 12-64
Opiates
2005
Hungary0.2% 0.1%0.3%18-64
Heroin
2019
Lebanon0.2% 15-64
Opiates
2003
Armenia0.2%0.17%0.24% 15-64
2007
Liechtenstein0.2% 15-64
Mainly opiates
2005
China0.19%0.13%0.25% 15-64
Problem opiate users
2012
Peru0.18% 12-64
Opiates
2005
Cyprus0.18%0.15%0.22% 15-64
Problem opiate users
2016
Cape Verde0.18% 15-64
Opiates
2004
Sierra Leone0.17% 15-64
Opiates
2004
Liberia0.17% 15-64
Opiates
2004
Kuwait0.17% 15-64
Opiates
2004
Eswatini0.17% 15-64
Opiates
2004
Somalia0.16% 15-64
Opiates
2004
Honduras0.15% 15-64
Opiates
2005
Bermuda0.15%0.1%0.2% 16-65
2009
Ghana0.14% 15-65
Opiates
2004
Rwanda0.14% 15-64
Opiates
2004
Libya0.14% 15-64
Opiates
2004
DR Congo0.13% 15-64
Opiates
2004
Netherlands0.13%0.11%0.15% 15-64
Problem opiate users
2012
Republic of the Congo0.13% 15-64
Opiates
2004
Tunisia0.12% 15-64
Problem opiate users
2011
Moldova0.12% 15-64
Problem opiate users
2011
El Salvador0.11% 15-64
2005
Barbados0.11%0.1%0.13% 15-64
Opiates
2006
Mexico0.1% 0.1%12-65
Heroin only
2016
Australia0.1% 14+
Heroin. Values under 'Best' rounded to 2 decimal places.
2019
Czech Republic0.1% 0.2%15-64
Heroin
2019
Serbia0.1% 0.1%0.1%15-64
Heroin
2018
Denmark0.1% 0.1%16-24
Heroin
2017
Slovakia0.1% 0.1%15-64
Heroin
2019
Finland0.1% 0.1%15-64
Heroin
2018
New Zealand0.1%0.1%0.3% 16-64
Heroin, opium, homebake
2008
Nigeria0.09% 0.21% 15-64
Heroin
2017
Senegal0.08% 15-64
Opiates
2006
Indonesia0.07%0.07%0.07% 15-64
Heroin and opium
2019
Argentina0.07%0.05%0.09% 15-64
2010
Bolivia0.07% 15-64
2004
Haiti0.07% 15-64
2006
Dominican Republic0.07%0.05%0.09% 15-64
2008
Algeria0.06%0.05%0.06%0.01%0.11%12+
Opium and heroin
2010
Saudi Arabia0.06% 15-64
Opiates
2006
Uganda0.05% 15-64
Opiates
2004
Central African Republic0.05% 15-64
Opiates
2004
Japan0.04% 15-64
Heroin
2019
Philippines0.04%0.03%0.04% 15-64
Problem opiate users
2011
Guatemala0.04% 15-65
Opiates
2005
Cambodia0.04% 15-64
Problem opiate users
2007
Zimbabwe0.04% 15-64
Opiates
2004
Costa Rica0.04% 0.01%0.06%15-64
Heroin
2015
Estonia0.04% 0.11%16-64
Heroin
2018
Turkey0.03% 0.05%15-64
Heroin
2018
Venezuela0.03% 12-65
Opiates
2011
Ecuador0.03% 0.01%12-65
Opium
2013
Paraguay0.03% 12-65
Opiates
2003
Colombia0.02%0.01%0.03%0.01%0.02%12-65
Heroin
2019
Syria0.02%
Opiates
2005
Chile0.02% 0.05%15-64
2014
United Arab Emirates0.02% 15-64
Opiates
2004
Nicaragua0.02% 12-65
Opiates
2006
South Korea 15-64
2004
showing: 124 rows

Which country has the highest opioid use?

While Germany has the highest opioid use, 480 mg/person, the United States has the highest availability of opioids worldwide.

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