The evolution of drug consumption in Europe

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) has recently published the European Drug Report 2016. The following are the most notable trends:19_edr2016_eventspage_nourl

  • The resurgence of MDMA (ecstasy), which has made a comeback as the favourite stimulant among Europe’s youth. Availability via internet, as well as the appearance of forerunners, allow for the production of a wide range of products.
  • There are regional tendencies related to specific consumption. For example, more cocaine is consumed in western and southern European countries. An increase in the purity of this drug has also been detected. Furthermore, in northern and eastern European countries amphetamines are taken more habitually. Consumption of these types of drug has been the cause of serious health problems and is even related to recent outbreaks of HIV.
  • By-products of cannabis are still the products with most appeal. In 2015 22.1 million consumers have been detected in Europe (83.2 million admit to having consumed it at some time in their lives), whereas cocaine (3.6 million), MDMA (2.5 million), amphetamines (1.6 million) and opiates (1.3 million) continue to be quite a distance away. On the other hand, opiates appear in 82% of overdose-related deaths.
  • Among the new psychotropic substances, 60% are synthetic cannabinoides, which reflects the markets’ ability to adapt and innovate. These new substances, however, are not very harmful to one’s health. The EMCDDA has confirmed 13 deaths and 23 cases of poisoning due to these drugs. The presence of synthetic opiates has increased and is often related to deaths related to drug abuse.
  • New alternative medical drugs are appearing which can reduce the harm caused by drugs. Hence, certain countries administer Naloxone as an antidote for overdoses and there are treatments which successfully combat infections caused by the hepatitis C virus owing to the parenteral injection of drugs.
  • Drug markets have a bigger and bigger presence on the Internet, both on the deep web and the wide web. These offer a wide range of possibilities. However, it must be kept in mind that the web is also a great source of preventive activities and ways of treating and reducing the damage caused by drugs.

You can access and download the complete report on the EMCDDA website.


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