Changing dynamics in the heroin market, the latest implications of cannabis use and new features and dimensions of the stimulant and ‘new drugs’ scene, are among the issues highlighted by the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA).
Inaugurated in Lisbon in 1995, EMCDDA is one of the EU’s decentralised agencies. It provides the EU and its member states with a factual overview of European drug problems. The European Drug Report 2015 analyses drug use in Europe. The report shows that we are confronted with a rapidly changing, globalised drug market and, therefore, we need to be united, swift and determined in our response to the drugs threat
Cannabis continues to be the most commonly used drug in Europe. 23.3% of people aged 16-64 have used it at least once in their lifetime and almost 1% uses it daily. It accounts for almost 80% of all drug seizures. In 2013, 671,000 seizures of cannabis were reported in the European Union with a further 30,000 seizures of cannabis plants. The most of drug law offences related to cannabis. Also, high potency cannabis products are available more than before
Cocaine, used mostly on weekends and holidays, is the second most widely used substance with 4.6% of people having used it at least once. In 2013, about 78,000 seizures totalling 63 tonnes of cocaine were reported in the EU.
The use of heroin and other opioids remains relatively rare and even appears to be declining. In Europe there are currently believed to be 1.3 million problem users. EMCDDA defines problem use as "injecting use of drugs or prolonged/regular use of opiates, cocaine and/or amphetamines".
Heroin in decline, but market changes call for close monitoring
Heroin and other opioids continue to be associated with most of the drug-related deaths as well as most of the cost of treatment. In 2013 175,000 people sought treatment in the EU, yet their number has halved since 2007 and they are on average five years older (34 years old).
Some 3.6% of adults have used ecstasy at least once in their lifetime. Some 3.5% of people have used amphetamines at least once in their life. They are produced in Europe for domestic use, although some of them are also produced for export.
‘New drugs’ detected at the rate of two per week
New drugs are detected at a rate of two per week. In 2014, 101 psychoactive substances were detected for the first time and 450 substances are monitored now, but the better-known drugs are still heavily used.