More than 75 million Europeans (22.5%) have tried cannabis, 23 million (6.8%) of them have smoked it over the last twelve months, and 3 million (2.3%) may use it daily, according to the annual report published Wednesday by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).
The report estimates that 3 million young Europeans (2.3%) use cannabis daily and that over the past year, about 1,000 tons of cannabis have been seized on European soil.
“Cannabis is the illicit drug most widely used in Europe, where it is both produced and imported,” said the report. Trend-wise, pot smoking is generally stable in Western member states, while the drug’s popularity has increased dramatically since 2004 in Italy, Czech Republic and Estonia.
Heroin use, which can result in HIV infection for needle users, is “Europe’s biggest drug problem” in the EMCDDA’s opinion. New cases of HIV among users has fallen since 2003, sharply in some countries, but the number of heroin users requiring treatment is greater than the sum of those for all other illicit drugs. Approximately 1.35 million people in the EU and Norway have used heroin; the rate is 2-4 times higher in Russia and Ukraine.
Cocaine been consumed by 14 million Europeans (4.1%), including 4 million during the past year. Spain and the United Kingdom have the highest percentage of residents who have used the drug in the last 12 months (around 5-6% versus an EU average of 2.2%); these two countries have seen a spike in cocaine-related deaths.
In the past year, 1.7% and 1.2% of young Europeans took ecstasy and amphetamines, respectively. In addition, the 2010 report pins the problem of the presence of 170 online stores that sell illegal substances in the form of legal highs.
“Drug use in Europe, while generally stable, has regional variations. Mutations in the supply and consumption of drugs developed and the emergence of a record number of new substances are, however, the test models of European drug control, “the report concludes.
EMCDDA is an EU government agency located in Portugal. It has a staff of 100.
– Article from L’Anglophone