Drugs in Europe 2017: trends and new developments

The report on the situation of drugs in Europe 2017 estimated the economic volume of the retail market of all illegal drugs in the European Union at 24,000 million euros in 2013. Over recent years the online market has developed thanks to the arrival of new internet technology, which coexists with the physical drug market.

The main illegal stimulant drugs available in Europe at the moment are cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamine and MDMA. The value of the retail market of stimulants in the EU is estimated to be between 6,300 and 10,200 million euros. There are notable differences between regions regarding the most intercepted drug, because of the existence of ports of entry and traffic routes, the main centres of production and large consumer markets.

Cocaine is the stimulant which is most intercepted in many countries in the west and south, which clearly reflects where the drug enters Europe. In total, in 2015 the EU was notified of almost 87,000 interceptions of cocaine. Belgium, Spain, France, Italy and Portugal were the focus of 78% of the 69.4 tonnes intercepted. Spain is where more cocaine is intercepted, with 22 tonnes in 2015.

Parenteral consumption has gone down, but it continues to be a challenge for public healthcare policies.

The herb cannabis –marihuana– and cannabis resin –hashish– are the two main cannabis products  sold on the European drug market. Cannabis products represent the biggest percentage –38%– of the illegal drug retail market in Europe, with an estimated value of 9,300 million euros.

The marihuana which is found in Europe is cultivated both internally and in other countries. Marihuana is largely imported from Morocco. According to estimates, the retail market of these drugs in the European Union was valued at 24,000 million euros in 2013.

Annually, in the European Union there are over a million interceptions of illegal drugs. Numerically, most correspond to small quantities confiscated from consumers, although interceptions of several kilos from traffickers and producers represent most of the total.

Cannabis is the most intercepted drug, as it involves 70% of interventions in Europe. Cocaine is in second place, with 9%; amphetamines 5%, like heroine, and finally MDMA with 2%.

In 2015, over 60% of drug interceptions carried out in the European Union were focused on three countries: Spain, France and the United Kingdom. Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Italy and Sweden also recorded some noteworthy figures.


EMCDDA report 2016 on perspectives in the field of drugs: http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/topics/pods/waste-water-analysis

Document EMCDDA http://emcdda.europa.eu/system/files/publications/4541/TDAT17001ESN.pdf

Document EMCDDA on recent changes in the European market of ecstasy and MDMA http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/publications/rapid-communications/2016/mdma


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