Muslim Statistics (Alcohol and Drugs)

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This page contains statistics concerning the sale and use of alcohol and drugs among Muslims. For further statistics of a related nature, see Health & Disability and Education & Employment.


Alcohol consumption remained relatively stable in Western regions whilst increasing in Africa and South-East Asia between 2001 and 2005.

Countries where people drank the least included parts of the developing world such as Africa and Asia. But these countries also showed the biggest increase in drinking in line with rapid economic development.

The average worldwide consumption in 2005 was equal to 6.13 litres of pure alcohol per person aged 15 years or older, according to the report.

A World Health Organisation spokesman said: 'Analysis from 2001-2005 showed countries in the WHO Americas, European, Eastern Mediterranean and Western Pacific regions had relatively stable consumption levels during that time; but marked increases were seen in Africa and South-East Asia during the five-year period.[1]
February 2011

Alcohol use in predominantly Muslim regions of the world increased by 25 percent between 2005 and 2010.

Statistics provided by research group Euromonitor International reported a constant increase in the use of alcohol in several countries where the Muslim religion, which prohibits the use of any product capable of affecting behaviour (drugs included), is dominant. Quoting the survey, Le Monde reported that between 2005 and 2010 the average consumption by the French dropped from 104.2 litres of alcohol per year to 96.7, while in the same period in the Middle East and Africa area it increased by 25%, from 11.7 billion litres to 15.2 billion.[2]
February 2011
“The Gulf is an important market for us to continue growing,” said Jane Ewing, Diageo’s general manager for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The London-based maker of Johnnie Walker whisky and Smirnoff vodka posted a 16 per cent rise in regional net sales last year [2010] and expects sales to double in the next five years in the MENA region. The Gulf Arab region alone accounted for 44 per cent of Diageo’s total sales in MENA, with the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon being its two largest markets.[3]
March 2011
According to the study [cited by the Alriyadyh Arabic language daily], Arab countries spend more than $10 billion on Viagra and other anti-impotence medicines every year and that Saudi Arabia [ranked sixth largest consumer of sex drugs] alone spends over $1.5 billion [10 times more than Russia although the population in Russia is more than 10 times the Saudis]. It is followed by Egypt and the UAE, which spend about $one billion and $500 million respectively.[4]
March 2012

2012 study finds alcohol consumption has nearly doubled in the Muslim world between 2001 and 2011, and the rise in alcohol-sales is “unlikely to be accounted for by non-Muslims and foreigners alone.” In fact, Muslims have played a “direct” role in the rise of alcohol consumption, and drinking alcohol is “becoming a common part of many lives in the Islamic world.”

While alcohol consumption is supposedly forbidden, the Muslim world has seen nearly double the increase in alcohol consumption in the past decade, according to a new study.

Across the Islamic world, The Economist magazine said, consumption is on the rise, with an increase of some 72 percent between 2001 and 2011.

“I believe it 100 percent,” said Egyptian lawyer Ahmed, who regularly joins his friends at a bar after work for a beer.

“We just like to enjoy ourselves and this whole religion thing has not been something that hinders us,” he told

Surprisingly, the Islamic world’s increase in boozing has been as the rest of the world has only grown in its alcohol consumption by some 30 percent.

The magazine, in its report on the new figures, said that the “rise [in alcohol-sales in the Middle East] is unlikely to be accounted for by non-Muslims and foreigners alone.”

Muslims are just as likely to partake in drinking as their non-Muslim counterparts. Granted, there are some Muslims who maintain abstinence to drinking, but the magazine and others believe Muslims have had a direct role in the rise of alcohol.

Although a taboo in many Muslim countries, more so in places like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Pakistan where it is legally banned, drinking is still commonplace.

In other places, such as Lebanon, Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia and Egypt it is legal to consume alcohol and bars are often crowded.
. . .

While there are some countries where drinking is lower, overall drinking is becoming a common part of many lives in the Islamic world, from Morocco to Indonesia.[5]
September 2012
According to the UN's Office on Drugs and Crime, in 2009 over 23.6 tons of fake Captagon were seized in the Middle East.[6]
September 2012


Turkish criminal groups facilitate the trafficking of heroin from Afghanistan, the largest opium–producing country in the world, to Europe. In 2009, it was reported that the heroin supply to Europe was controlled by 138 Turkish networks.[7] Europol stated in its 2011 Organised Crime Threat Assessment report that:
The majority of illicit heroin entering the EU continues to be sourced from Afghanistan via Turkey and the Balkans ...
Turkish and Albanian-speaking criminal groups remain the most prominent in trafficking heroin to and within the EU.[8][9]
August 2011
Turks are controlling major part of the black drug market in Europe - about 93%. The reports of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime says 110 tons of heroine entered Europe in 2009, while 80% came by a route lying through Turkey.[10]
February 2012


Afghanistan, as of March 2010, is the largest illicit opium producer of the world, ahead of Burma, and Pakistan has a clinical role to play in this statistic.

In 2007, Afghanistan produced an extraordinary 8,200 tonnes of opium (34% more than in 2006), becoming practically the exclusive supplier of the world’s deadliest drug (93% of the global opiates market), according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Afghanistan Opium Survey 2007.

Being one of the world’s largest opium and heroin producer, the labour demand needed to cater to this extensive poppy harvesting and cultivation is met in an invariably peculiar way.

Hundreds of madrassa students from Chaman and adjoining tribal regions of Balochistan are engaged by Afghan farmers for poppy cultivation in Afghanistan’s two major heroin-producing provinces of Helmand and Kandahar for the past three months.
. . .

A 2007 UN report revealed that leaving aside 19th century China, which had a population at that time 15 times larger than today’s Afghanistan, no other country in the world had ever produced narcotics on such a deadly scale.[11]
August 2011
The UNODC says Afghanistan has around one million heroin and opium addicts out of a population of 30 million, making it the world's top user per capita.

No estimates are available on how many women are addicted to opium or heroin. Nejat estimates around 60,000 women in Afghanistan regularly take illegal drugs, including hashish and marijuana
. . .
Afghanistan's female narcotics problem is now filling the country's largest women's prison, Badam Bagh or "Almond Orchard", on the outskirts of Kabul.

Of its 164 inmates, 64 are opium and heroin users, double what it was when the clinic started in 2008[12]
April 2012
Viagra, a well-known erectile dysfunction drug, has long been in demand in the country.
. . .

According to the BBC, up to 2 million pills can be legally imported into Afghanistan each year, but ministry officials believe at least 4 million pills are being consumed nationwide.

Indeed, given the notoriously porous nature of Afghanistan's borders, some believe that the number of tablets that are flooding into the country could be even higher.

As Afghanistan only has an estimated adult male population of 9 million, it seems that demand for Viagra is exceedingly high.

Why Afghan men appear to have such a pressing need for the aphrodisiac has been the source of some speculation.
. . .

Some have also pointed to the fact that Afghan men can have as many as four, often younger, wives at any given time.[13]
June 2012
Afghan officials estimate that the Taliban earned about $100 million between 2011 and 2012 from the opium poppy industry[14]
September 2012


In Algeria, where alcohol is not prohibited except during Ramadan (6.8 litres per year per person in 2010), consumption increase [between 2005 and 2010] by 7% in terms of value and 3% in volume.[2]
February 2011
Nearly 2,000 pubs and other alcoholic drink outlets have been closed in Algeria in the past three years, particularly in the Algiers area, according to a source from the alcoholic beverage producers' association. In Tizi Ouzou, ten orders to shut down pubs were enforced by the police in September alone. In the capital, the authorities unleashed a real war on bars and pubs.[15]
February 2012


[According to annual report of the German police] The number of residents of not German nationality suspected of organizing criminal gangs reached 471,067, while 106,396 out of them were Turks. As to drug trafficking, 26.6% of Germany’s drug dealers are Turks, 21.9% of those engaged in cocaine trafficking are Turks as well.[10]
February 2012


more than 100 executions this year alone were for drug-related offences.[16]
October 2011
Behind its façade of Muslim piety, Iran is one of the most drug-addled countries in the world.
. . .
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reports that Iran has 1.2 million "drug-dependent users," and that 2.26 percent of the population aged 15-64 is addicted to opiates.[17]
November 2011
Only China executed more people in 2011 than Iran. More than have the 600 plus victims of the death penalty were convicted of drugs offences.[18]
June 2012
Iran, where home-brewers and party-goers in Tehran drink 1.02 liters [of pure alcohol] per capita a year, even though it is not officially allowed.[5]
September 2012


Lebanon, where one person drinks about 2.23 liters of pure alcohol a year.[5]
September 2012


World Health Organisation (WHO) has named Malaysia as the world's tenth largest consumer of alcohol.

A new WHO report has said Malaysia spent over 500 million dollars (RM1.5bil) on alcohol with a per capita consumption of seven litres, while its beer consumption is 11 litres per capita, The Star reports.

Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Heng Seai Kie expressed concern that this problem is getting serious.[19]
May 2011


Pakistan’s first comprehensive survey on drug use, conducted with the help of the U.N.’s anti-narcotics agency, reveals that a substantial portion of the country’s population suffers from the devastating consequences of substance use.

U.N. officials say the extensive survey of drug use in Pakistan is the first of its kind in south and west Asia, and provides a baseline for the government to plan effective polices to deal with the growing problem.

The research estimates that nearly six percent - or 6.4 million adult Pakistanis - used drugs in the last 12 months. It says cannabis, or marijuana, is the most commonly consumed drug in the country, with four million people users.[20]
March 2013
Afghanistan is the world’s largest producer of opium – heroin’s main ingredient – and accounts for 90 per cent of the global supply. Roughly 40 per cent of it is smuggled through Pakistan.[21]
July 2013


The pan-Islamic terrorists in Chechnya and the innumerable organised Chechen crime mafia groups operating in Chechnya and outside have never been short of funds. It is believed that their main sources of funding are: 1. Narcotics (essentially heroin) smuggling: US $ 800 million per annum.[22]
December 2002

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is the world’s sixth largest consumer of sex drugs as domestic demand is as much as 10 times that in Russia, according to [Alriyadyh Arabic language daily].
. . .

“Saudis are the sixth largest consumers of sex drugs in the world…their consumption is as much as 10 times that of Russia although the population in that country is more than 10 times the Saudis,” it said.
. . .

Saudi Arabia alone spends over $1.5 billion [on Viagra and other anti-impotence medicines every year].[4]
March 2012


Tunisia, where despite the lack of prohibition the purchase of wine or whisky is viewed as socially inappropriate behaviour, between 2004 and 2009 money spent on alcohol increased from 27.8 to 44.8 million dinars, or from 18 to 31 million euros.[2]
February 2011


During the 5-year [Euromonitor International] survey period [2005 - 2010] the Turks [alcohol consumption] increased from 18.3 to 20.5 litres per person[2]
February 2011

United Arab Emirates

During the 5-year [Euromonitor International] survey period [2005 - 2010]... UAE citizens [alcohol consumption increased] from 30.4 to 36.8 litres.[2]
February 2011

United Kingdom

The size of the UK market for heroin is estimated at between 18 and 23 metric tonnes per annum. Mr Coates told us that Turkish organised crime groups dominate the heroin market in the UK, of which they are probably responsible for around 70%.[23] During our visit to Turkey, we were advised by the Turkish Authorities that, of the 95% of drugs in Turkey which are destined for abroad, a “significant proportion” is intended for the UK.[24] Most of the heroin entering the UK does so via the Balkan route, generally arriving by lorry or by deep sea container.[25][9]
August 2011
According to law enforcers, about 90% of imported heroin is of Turkish origin. The Turks engaged in heroin business are mainly concentrated in the eastern part of London. They have links with Afghanistan and Pakistan.[10]
February 2012

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  1. U.S. drinks the lowest amount of alcohol in the developed world, figures reveal - Daily Mail, February 17, 2011
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Islam: Survey, Alcohol Use In Mideast-Africa +25% In 5 Years - ANSAmed, February 23, 2011
  3. Alcoholic drinks market booming in Muslim Gulf - Reuters, March 10, 2011
  4. 4.0 4.1 Saudis are world's 6th largest consumers of sex drugs - Emirates 24/7, March 4, 2012
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Joseph Mayton - Alcohol use on the rise in Middle East - Bikya Masr, September 3, 2012
  6. Roi Kais - Hezbollah funding terror with fake medicine - Ynet News, September 10, 2012
  7. UN Office on Drugs and Crime, World Drugs Report 2010, 2010, p 57
  8. Europol, EU Organised Crime Threat Assessment 2011, April 2011, p 8
  9. 9.0 9.1 House of Commons Home Affairs Committee - Implications for the Justice and Home Affairs area of the accession of Turkey to the European Union - Tenth Report of Session 2010–12, Published on August 1, 2011
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Tatevik Hayrapetyan - Turkish drug mafia conquers Europe -, February 16, 2012
  11. Qaiser Butt - Illicit drug production: Balochistan madrassa students harvest poppy on holidays - The Express Tribune, August 5, 2011
  12. Amie Ferris-Rotman - Insight: Lifting the veil on Afghanistan's female addicts - Reuters, April 1, 2012
  13. Afghan Authorities Stop Going Soft On Viagra - RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty, June 18, 2012
  14. Insurgent Taliban rake in $400m from different sources: UN report - Reuters, September 11, 2012
  15. Nazim Fethi - Attacks on bars multiply in Algeria - Magharebia, February 15, 2012
  16. UN says secret executions widespread in Iran - Al Jazeera, October 18, 2011
  17. Roland Elliott Brown - Chasing the Dragon in Tehran - Foreign Policy, November 18, 2011
  18. Damien McElroy - Iran's use of death penalty criticised by Foreign Office - The Telegraph, June 1, 2012
  19. Tanya Thomas - Despite Its Muslim Majority, WHO Names Malaysia as World's 10th Largest Alcohol Consumer - Medindia Health Network, May 24, 2011
  20. Ayaz Gul, "UN Survey Finds 6 Million Pakistani Drug Users", VOA News, March 13, 2013 (archived), 
  21. "Heroin in Pakistan more affordable than food", RT, July 16, 2013 (archived), 
  22. B. Raman - Chechnya continues to bleed - South Asia Analysis Group, Paper No. 573, December 30, 2002
  23. Qq 5, 11
  24. Annex A, Note of our visit to Turkey
  25. Q 17 [Mr Coates]