By: Steven Adams

Britain has one of the highest numbers of reported drug-related deaths in the world, according to a United Nations report.

Drugs were the primary cause of death in 2,278 cases in the UK in 2008, the highest number for any country in west or central Europe, found the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Drug deaths in Britain accounted for one in 10 across Europe, the figures indicated.

Most of these deaths were caused by opioids, followed by sedatives, cocaine, amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) and ecstasy.

Britain has the sixth-highest number of drug-related deaths globally, according to the UNODC annual report, after the United States, the Ukraine, the Russian Federation, Iran and Mexico.

Other countries across the globe are likely to have significantly higher actual numbers of drug related deaths than in Britain, but in countries like Afghanistan the vast majority go unreported. Britain, by contrast, has one of the most stringent processes to ascertain cause of death in the world.

Nonetheless, Britain is a major market for suppliers of illicit drugs due to the size and wealth of its population.

The UN report also found that while overall drug use across the world remained stable, “demand soared for substances not under international control” – so-called “legal highs”.

“These markets continue to evolve and every year new products, not under control, are manufactured to supply an increasingly diversified demand for psychoactive substances.”

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