Europe is seeing signs of an increase in cocaine availability, with seizures of the drug at record levels. This is according to the European Drug Report 2019: Trends and Developments, released by the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA) today in Brussels. In its annual overview, the agency also explores: the challenges associated with heroin and new synthetic opioids, the latest developments in the cannabis market, Europe’s growing role in synthetic drug production and the use of digital technologies for health benefits in the drugs field.
Dimitris Avramopoulos, European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, says: ‘Today’s report shows the complex nature of Europe’s drug phenomenon. Drugs remain a constantly evolving, multi-faceted threat to our societies, affecting the life of millions of citizens around the world. We need a more coordinated approach that tackles both supply and demand. Our efforts are bearing fruit with our new rules to ban psychoactive substances and our enhanced cooperation with international partners. But we also need to look at the role of digitalisation in the drug market. We have no time to spare. We need to be coordinated at the national, European and international levels. Together with our EU drugs agency, we will continue to play a leading role in this effort.’
The EMCDDA report highlights the continuing high availability of most illicit substances. The latest data show that in Europe (EU-28, Turkey and Norway), over 1 million seizures of illicit drugs are reported annually. Around 96 million adults in the EU (15–64 years) have tried an illicit drug in their lifetime and an estimated 1.2 million people receive treatment each year for illicit drug use (EU-28). In 2018, 55 new psychoactive substances (NPS) were detected in the EU for the first time, bringing the total number monitored by the agency to 730.
Director Alexis Goosdeel says: ‘The challenges we face in the drugs area continue to grow. Not only are there signs of increased availability of established plant-based drugs like cocaine, but we are also witnessing an evolving market where synthetic drugs and drug production within Europe are growing in importance. This can be seen in problems associated with the use of highly potent synthetic opioids, in new production techniques for MDMA and amphetamines, and in recent developments in the processing of morphine into heroin inside Europe’s borders’.
Source: The European Monitoring Centre for Drug and Drug Addiction, 06/06/19