Warning signs over Europes biggest drug problem
Opioids are still at the heart of Europes drug phenomenon. And signs of change in our heroin and synthetic opioid problem mean that countries need to be vigilant and prepared to respond. These were among the key points stressed by the EMCDDA (European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction) as it launched its annual report: the state of the drugs problem in Europe on 6 November in Brussels.
Estimates show that there are between 1.3 and 1.7 million problem opioid users in the EU and Norway, with heroin responsible for Europes largest drug-related health and social costs. New data published in the report call into question previous EMCDDA assessments of a slowly improving heroin situation and point to a ‘stable, but no longer diminishing problem’. Record opium production in Afghanistan in 2007 has also heightened the agencys worries over a potential knock-on effect on Europes heroin problem
Mixed picture on stimulant drugs
Stimulant drugs such as amphetamines, ecstasy and cocaine are the second most commonly consumed drug type in Europe today, after cannabis. But within this group, data reveal a very mixed picture in terms of prevalence, trends and market developments.