Global illegal drug use is expected to rise by 25% over the next few decades as rapid urbanization, industrialization, and population growth in developing countries fuel the demand for illegal substances, the UN’s anti-drug agency said in its new annual report this week. The report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC), which underlines the fight against drug abuse with data on the consumption and production of illegal substances, also projects that developing countries will shoulder the burden of the global drug problem in the coming decades.
Here are the highlights of the UN findings:
1. Roughly 230 million people have used an illegal drug at least once in 2010.
In 2010, 5% of the world adult population aged 15-64 used illegal drugs at least once. Problem drug users, who mainly depend on cocaine and heroin, make up an estimated 0.6% of the world adult population, amounting to roughly 27 million. Every year, approximately 200,000 people worldwide die from drug abuse.
2. The global number of illegal drug users will go up by 25% by 2050.
If the annual prevalence of illegal drug use stays stable at 5% of the adult population over the next few decades, demographic trends indicate that the total number of illicit drug users will increase by a quarter by 2050, which is in proportion to world population growth. Although the current rate of 5% might appear like a small proportion of the world’s adult population, if this rate continues, there may be some extra 65 million illegal drug users by 2050 compared to 2009-2010.
3. The increase in illicit drug use will be most pronounced in developing countries.
Drug use is linked to urbanization. With the urban population of developing countries expected to double between 2011 and 2050, they will see a marked increase in the demand for drugs. In other words, the burden of the global drug problem will shift to countries that are relatively ill-equipped to deal with it, explains Yury Fedotov, the UN anti-drugs chief. In addition, developing countries’ higher projected population growth and younger populations, the main consumers of drugs, will raise the demand for illicit drugs in those nations.
4. Two of the world’s most popular illegal drugs are cannabis (marijuana) and amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS).
There are an estimated 119-224 million marijuana users globally, making it the most popular illegal substance in the world. Amphetamine-type stimulants, such as methamphetamine (but excluding ecstasy), come in second with around 14-52.5 million users worldwide. As of now there are no signs that marijuana will lose its status as the illegal drug of choice, says the report.
5. More women will use illicit drugs.
While men who take illegal drugs still greatly outnumber women, the gender gap, especially in developing countries, will narrow as conservative, sociocultural barriers break down and as gender equality improves.
Read more HERE from Time.
The most hype-filled shopping day of the year will soon be upon us. Here’s a roundup of alternately eye-opening, quirky, and confounding facts and figures about Black Friday 2011.
At least 2 Number of retailers subjected to protests by employees upset that their Thanksgiving dinners will be ruined because they have to work that night. Nearly 200,000 online signatures have been collected in an online petition opposing Target’s midnight opening; workers are also protesting the midnight opening of Best Buy. Employees of Toys R Us and Walmart, which are both opening on Thursday evening hours before midnight, aren’t bothering to protest holiday hours—perhaps because workers know there’s no prayer the corporate bosses will change plans if it means hurting sales.
5 Percent that shoppers would save, on average, by waiting until after Cyber Monday to purchase Consumer Reports-recommended TVs and cameras, according to an analysis of price fluctuations during last year’s holiday season.
9.5 Average percentage discount off the sticker price for new cars purchased on Black Friday—supposedly the best day in all 2011 to buy a car.
12 Number of days that a young couple in Florida is camping out on the concrete sidewalk in front of a Best Buy in order to be the first in line for Black Friday sale.
12:30 Time (a.m.) that Macy’s stores in Massachusetts will open in the wee hours of Black Friday/Thanksgiving night. Nationally, Macy’s is opening at midnight, but because of blue laws in Massachusetts and other states, employees are prohibited from working before midnight on Thanksgiving. Because that leaves no time for stores to prepare for Black Friday, opening times have been adjusted.
17 Percentage increase in frequency of promotional e-mails sent by retailers to shoppers in early November, compared to a year earlier, according to Internet marketing firm Responsys.
20 Number of years that Buy Nothing Day has been celebrated (by some) the day after Thanksgiving as an anti-consumerism alternative to Black Friday. For the big anniversary this year, the Buy Nothings are encouraging consumers to really try to consume less—perhaps through a Buy Nothing Christmas rather than just a single Buy Nothing Day.
24 Days before Black Friday that Amazon’s Black Friday deals page went live.
26 Number of hours in a row Toys R Us stores will be open, from 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving night until 11 p.m. on the evening of Black Friday.
30 Approximate size of each group of shoppers allowed into Target stores at a time when the doors open for Black Friday; the system is in place to avoid a dangerous, chaotic stampede of consumers rushing into stores at the stroke of midnight. After 10 or 20 seconds, another group of 30 will be allowed inside.
17, 44, 55 Various percentages gathered in surveys forecasting the proportion of American consumers who will actually shop over Black Friday weekend. A survey from the NPD Group has it that just 17% of consumers will start their shopping on Thanksgiving weekend this year. A Discover Financial poll is more optimistic for retailers, indicating that 55% of consumers will take advantage of Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday deals. The Accenture Holiday Shopping Survey, meanwhile, says hat 44% of consumers are likely to shop on Black Friday of 2011, down from 47% last year and 52% in 2009. In yet another poll, from last year, less than one-quarter (24%) of consumers said they’d be physically shopping in stores on Black Friday.
34 vs. 70 According to another survey, 34% of consumers are at least somewhat likely to physically go shopping on Black Friday, whereas 70% said they’re somewhat likely to shop online for gifts that day.
90 Percentage of Black Friday shoppers who will be buying goods for themselves or their families that day; only 10% of survey respondents said they’d be shopping to purchase gifts for others.
300 Markdown, in dollars, for the Blackberry Playbook tablet at Staples on Black Friday; normally $499, it’ll sell for $199 (until it’s sold out).
30,000 Height in the air, in feet, at which airline passengers will be encouraged to go shopping starting on FlyBuy Wednesday, a new promotion running from the day before Thanksgiving through January 2, 2012, during which fliers get 30 minutes of free Wi-Fi access on planes—as well as access to special deals from more than a dozen online retailers.
60 million Estimated number of smartphones that’ll be used by shoppers over Black Friday weekend; some 21 million of those consumers plan on making purchases via smartphones over the weekend.
152 million On the high end, the projected total number of consumers who plan on shopping over Black Friday weekend, according to the National Retail Federation. That’s about half the population of the U.S.! But, the NRF survey clarifies, only 74 million say they’ll definitely hit the stores, while the rest will wait to see if the sales (and consumer moods) are conducive to shopping. Also, this is a projection of shoppers over the entire weekend, not necessarily Black Friday itself.
Time Magazine has two good pieces on the debt-ceiling mess. Read the first HERE and the second HERE. for more insight, read what five economist think about the debt deal HERE. The following is an excerpt from the first article. We all need to read and understand what is happening to our way of life.
In narrow economic terms, the debt deal is actually not a big deal, neither as good as its advocates claim nor as terrifying as its opponents fear. The actual cut to the 2012 budget, the only budget over which this Congress has control, is $21 billion out of total expenditures of $3.7 trillion—a pittance. Everything else can and will be changed by future Congresses. What the deal does is kick tough choices down the road, this time to a congressional supercommission that will have to come up with a larger plan to reduce debt. And it does nothing to spur growth, without which the debt will expand well above projections.
The deal’s largest impact will be political, and there it has been a disaster. The manner in which it was produced added poison to an already toxic atmosphere in Washington, making compromise even more difficult. Democrats now feel they need to mirror the Tea Party’s tactics and are becoming unyielding on any cuts to entitlement programs like Medicare. Republicans, emboldened by the success of their bullying, have closed ranks more solidly around a no-tax agenda. But the only solution to America’s debt dilemma will need to involve both cuts to entitlement programs and higher tax revenues.
Here is a short excerpt frm the second article, on the strength and worrisome agenda of the Tea Party.
Barack Obama has long promised a post-partisan environment in the capital. But he never imagined that a minority of Americans would come to play such an outsize role in the public conversation. Polls may show that Americans overwhelmingly want more compromise in Washington, but the Tea Party’s leaders—and the roughly 25% of Americans who consider themselves Tea Party supporters—are primed for more confrontation. The debt fight, believe it or not, is probably just the beginning.
Can’t say I agree with everything in this article (like taking out life insurance on your parents as a way to build wealth), but these ideas will get you thinking. Read more HERE.
I think more and more of you need to start thinking about being self-employed. I’ve basically been self-employed for over 30 years, and can tell you it worked for me. Not everyone is cut out to do it; there is pressure. At the same time, some of you are not cut out to work “safely” for a big company in a small cubicle, or for a university of a city or state government. It will simply stiffle you.
Before deciding which fork in the road to take, read this article from Time HERE, and others about entrepreneurs. As I look at the economy and the next ten years, I see the best bet for many of you is taking your own path. The internet is the great unexplored territory of your generation. Work hard, but work smart. Find a mentor and a business plan. And if you go your own way, remember—you may go a while between paychecks, but you’ll never be unemployed.
More resources are available at the Young Entrepreneurs Council web site HERE.