Globe and Mail Update
Saturday, August 11, 2001
Drug use in Toronto
- Seventy-to-90 per cent of crimes in Canada are related to drug or alcohol abuse, according to Statistics Canada.
- The RCMP estimates that the potential demand for heroin in Canada ranges between one and two tonnes annually.
- On Sept. 2, 2000, RCMP seized 93-kilograms of heroin at the port of Vancouver - their largest seizure for the year. The second-largest seizure came just five days earlier, when RCMP halted 57 kilograms of heroin in Toronto that had first entered the country in Vancouver.
- Vancouver has an estimated 10,000 IV drug users, according to the Vancouver Coalition for Drug Control. Property crime is up 66 per cent in the city - a 34-per-cent rise in the last five years, the same group reports.
- British Columbia is currently experiencing the western world's worst reported HIV and hepatitis C (HCV) epidemic among injection drug users. Of British Columbia's estimated 15,000 injection drug users, some 90 per cent are HCV-positive and 25 to 30 per cent are HIV-positive.
- Since 1993, Vancouver has averaged 147 illicit drug overdose deaths per year. Estimated direct costs from law enforcement and healthcare related to injection drug use and HIV/AIDS in British Columbia are $96-million annually. The cost of enforcement is 4.5 times higher than the cost of treatment, the Vancouver coalition for crime prevention and drug treatment reports.
- In 1998, there were 36 heroin-related deaths in Toronto, down from 40 in 1990. In total, 155 people died from drug-related causes in Toronto that same year, according to the city's 2000 report.
- Approximately 2.8-million Canadians indicate they have a family member with a drug problem, the Vancouver Coalition for Drug Control reports.
- Cannabis offences accounted for three-quarters of all drug-related crime. More than two-thirds of these were for possession. Increases were also seen in the rate of cocaine offences (+6 per cent) and other drug offences (+12 per cent). Heroin offences dropped 8 per cent, Statistics Canada reported in its 2000 Crime Statistics report.
- Approximately 180-million people worldwide (4.2 per cent of people aged 15 and older) consumed illicit drugs in the late 1990s. Of those, 9 million were heroin users, according to the UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention's 2000 report. The most widely consumed drug is cannabis, with approximately 144-million people using it worldwide, the same report concluded.