Whether you’ve had personal experience of drug use disorder or have witnessed the chaos and pain of a loved one battling to overcome it, it’s likely that somehow, sometime, addiction has impacted you. As the fastest-growing epidemic in the world today, it’s a condition affecting all ages, creeds, cultures, ethnicities, income brackets, education levels, professions and population groups. It truly is the most democratic illness in the world.

In the UK, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), there were 2 917 recorded deaths from illicit drug use in 2018 – a rise of 17% and the biggest annual increase in drug deaths since records began in 1993. Most of these deaths were due to opiates, although cocaine use has doubled in the past three years. Some have blamed this startling statistic on government cuts to treatment programmes (particularly opioid substitution treatment), while others have pointed to the proliferation and comparative affordability of “recreational” drugs, particularly among youngsters.

The Crime Statistics for England and Wales report of 2019 found that about one in 11 (94%) of adults aged 16-59 had used a drug in the past year. (Source:

The World Drug Report estimates that some 35 million people are known to be suffering from illicit drug misuse disorders and that the number of opioid users is currently an estimated 53 million – up 56% from previous estimates. Opioids are responsible for two-thirds of the 585 000 recorded drug misuse-related deaths in 2017. (Source:

These are the deaths. The number of people currently in active illicit drug misuse, whose lives are at risk, is considerably higher – and when one adds to this the number of people currently misusing prescribed or over-the-counter drugs, the statistic is likely to be staggering.

When it comes to alcohol, the National Health Service reports that in 2017, 21% of adults (aged 16 and upwards) drank more than 14 units of alcohol a week, with 5 843 alcohol-specific deaths (a 6% increase on 2016 and a 16% on 2007). (Source:

And then there are the other, less obvious – but equally destructive – compulsive disorders: from gambling, to sex, to sugar, to food in general, to shopping, to social media, to a plethora of behaviours which can and do impact relationships, families, communities, careers and imprison countless individuals in unhappy, depleted lives.


If you’d like to become part of the solution for ridding the world of this scourge, and helping others shift from a culture of misuse disorder to a sustainable, meaningful culture of recovery, please read on – you can make a difference!


The UBUNTU ACADEMY OF COACHING TRAINING (U-ACT PBO-930 037 894) Trust, based in Johannesburg, South Africa, is a SAQA-registered organisation which is internationally recognised and is ISO 17024-compliant. It was founded by David Collins, an internationally qualified master coach with a background in the corporate banking and IT sector, whose personal journey to recovery prompted him to open his own rehabilitation facility, as well as the U-ACT Trust. 

Both the rehab facility and the trust are staffed and run by people with lived experience in drug misuse disorder, who draw on their own recovery as well as the primary tool of Recovery Coaching in their approach to treating and supporting clients.