The annual report for the year 2006 of the International Narcotics Control Board (an agency affiliated to UN), suggests that abuse of prescriptions drugs is increasing at an alarming rate across the globe.
The abuse of prescription drugs surpasses the conventional illegal drugs like ecstasy, cocaine and heroine in parts of Europe, Africa and South Asia. The abuse of tranquilizers, stimulants and painkillers alone has shot beyond the illicit drugs (with the exception of cannabis) in the United States alone.
One of the main reasons for such a trend is the unregulated markets in many nations which enable the illicit drug peddler to push these drugs via internet, courier service and mails. According to Philip O. Emafo, President of Narcotics Control Board, the drugs that are available through such routes bring more harm than benefit to the patient. He also quoted the report from WHO which says that 50% of drugs available in developing countries are spurious.
Buprenorphine, an analgesic, which is available as injectible form in India is abused in France and sold as Subutex there. In the American market, the painkillers oxycodone and hydrocodone are being used by 7.4% of college students. There is also a dramatic rise of prescription drug abusers in America over a period of time. But there is a positive downward trend in illicit drug abuse by the high school and college going population.