Culture

Myths About Africans: Black People Take More Drugs

To justify the miscarriage of justice and prejudices against minorities and immigrants, some racist people around the world often project unfounded stereotypes onto the Africans of the world. One of the myths regularly perpetuated is that black people take more drugs. The evidence doesn’t stack up. According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, the top per capita consumers of cocaine, cannabis, alcohol and cigarettes in the world are all in Europe and the US. Ironically and theoretically, if more Africans went to Europe and the US, the drug taking consumption would reduce.

In this article, we will go through statistics from which we will be analyzing the different nations’ use of drugs, specifically in the form of cocaine, alcohol, cannabis and tobacco consumption.

Cocaine

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According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime website’s recent statistics, a map of the world has been constructed demonstrating the prevalence of cocaine use as a percentage of the population. The statistics have been created according to data collected over years, giving a sensible indication of the countries with the highest consumption rate of cocaine. The dark coloured regions consume the most cocaine, while the light-coloured consume the least amount of cocaine.

Albania is on top of the chart of cocaine users reaching an estimate of about 2.5 % users of its population. The research was conducted by the public health in 2014, covering the population between the ages of 16 and 64.

According to the figures, the UK is among the world’s highest consumers of cocaine with a recorded number of 2.25 %. This figure, which is recorded by the Crime Survey for England and Wales in 2015 – 2016, refers to the cocaine consumption among those aged 16-59 in England and Wales. According to government sources, the use of the drug in Scotland is 2.34, which is slightly higher, while in Northern Ireland, the use of the drug is rather lower, 1.8 %.

Other major cocaine-consuming countries which are in the top ten include, the United States, Spain, Australia and Netherlands, along with a few of the South American countries such as Chile and Uruguay.

A surprising fact is that, while Columbia is a major producer and distributor of cocaine, according to a 2013 report, citizens of the country who actually use cocaine are only 0.7 %. This makes Columbia stand in the 34th place out of 115 countries and regions of high cocaine users.

From the previous map, we notice that African and Middle Eastern countries have the lowest rates of consumption.

The 10 biggest cocaine consuming countries
Albania 2.5 %
Scotland 2.34 %
The United States 2.3 %
England & Wales 2.25 %
Spain 2.2 %
Australia 2.1 %
Uruguay 1.8 %
Chile 1.73 %
Netherlands 1.6 %
Ireland 1.5 %

Alcohol

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According to data by the World Health Organization that records the amount of pure alcohol citizens aged 15 and above consume per year, the following map was constructed. The map is colour-coded, the darkest shades indicating countries with the most annual alcohol consumption and the light shades indicate countries with the least annual alcohol consumption.

It’s not surprising to see Russia among the list of top alcohol consumers worldwide when we know that they each drink a bit over 15 litres of pure alcohol annually. This figure is almost equivalent to 155 bottles of wine or 1500 shots of vodka. However, the country with the most recorded alcohol consumption worldwide, consuming about 17.5 litres annually is, Belarus.

The 10 biggest alcohol consuming countries
1 Belarus
2 Moldova
3 Lithuania
4 Russia
5 Romania
6 Ukraine
7 Andorra
8 Hungary
9 Czech Republic
10 Slovakia

The Alcohol Awareness Week in the UK and the existence of other similar events in different alcohol-consuming countries indicate that the alcohol consumption is rising at an alarming rate and that it is starting to represent a threat to the health of the nations and societies.

Again, it would be no surprise when we see that the countries with the least alcohol consumption are usually Muslim regions where there is a considerable restriction on the use of alcohol. Records show that the Middle East and Africa are the most abstinent regions regarding alcohol sale and consumption.

Cannabis

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When we try to guess which country has the highest users of cannabis, one would think of the famous marijuana coffee shops of Netherlands or perhaps Portugal, the US or Uruguay. For all these countries have been going the extra mile to decriminalize the use of cannabis. However, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the biggest cannabis consuming nation is, Iceland. Figures show that in Iceland, 18.3 % of the population aged between 15 and 64 are using cannabis. The Netherlands surprisingly came 20th on the list of worldwide biggest cannabis users.

The 10 biggest cannabis consuming countries
Iceland 18.3 %
The United States 16.3 %
Nigeria 14.3 %
Canada 12.7 %
Chile 11.83 %
France 11.1 %
New Zealand 11 %
Bermuda 10.9 %
Australia 10.2 %
Zambia 9.5 %

Tobacco

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Knowing that tobacco causes the death of more than half of the regular smokers, and realizing that currently, 1.1 billion people (both men and women) at the age of 15 and above are regular smokers, the issue becomes quite serious and alarming. In 2016 alone, 884,000 died from second hand-smoke, while more than 6 million individual dies annually from first-hand smoking.

What’s more is that, apart from the individual harm and death-threat that smoking causes, it also affects the land and causes desertification. To grow tobacco, many farmers clear forested lands by burning and/or harvesting the wood for curing. Soon, the land becomes unusable and abandoned. Not to mention that tobacco has an annual economic cost that reaches for up to 2 trillion dollars.

The map below shows the rate of smoking across the world, with the darkest shades representing areas that smoke the most, while lighter shades represent areas that smoke the least. From the map, it is apparent that Eastern European countries mostly lead the ranks in the rate of smoking.

According to the records compiled by Tobacco Atlas, Andorra takes the lead with an estimate of 6398 legally sold cigarettes (both machine-made and roll-your-own) which are consumed per person annually. Luxemburg occupies second place on the list of most smoking nations. Belarus, the country that occupies the first place worldwide in alcohol consumption, comes in third place in cigarette consumption. The table below shows the top smoking countries worldwide.

The 20 biggest cigarette consuming countries
1 Andorra
2 Luxembourg
3 Belarus
4 Macedonia
5 Albania
6 Belgium
7 Czech Republic
8 Jordan
9 Russia
10 Syria
11 Slovenia
12 Greece
13 Hungary
14 China
15 Lebanon
16 Armenia
17 Mongolia
18 Cyprus
19 Austria
20 Georgia

From the table, we see that the most smoking non-European countries are Jordan, Syria and China. On the other hand, the Tobacco Atlas list records that the least smoking countries include India, Ecuador, Peru, Ghana, Antigua and Barbuda. The country that is the least tobacco-dependent is Brunei. The table below shows the least smoking countries in the world. It also shows that the majority of those countries are African nations.

The 20 least smoking countries
1 Brunei
2 Guinea-Bissau
3 Mauritania
4 Ghana
5 Antigua and Barbuda
6 India
7 Swaziland
8 Ecuador
9 Rwanda
10 Peru
11 Guatemala
12 Ethiopia
13 Niger
14 Zimbabwe
15 Democratic Republic of Congo
16 Eritrea
17 Haiti
18 Zambia
19 Togo
20 Dominica

The aforementioned facts and figures clearly debunk the myth that black people take more drugs than people from other nations. Just because people tend to stereotype and falsely focus the light on a certain group of people throughout the different forms of media, both online and in the real world, doesn’t mean that those are truthful realities. In fact, as we see, it was more of a myth or an illusion that ignores factual statistics and numbers in order to create a non-existent reality about Africans.

Bibliography

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