Greece Country Drug Report 2019

Drug markets

Cannabis is the most frequently seized substance in Greece. It remains the main illicit substance produced in Greece and is grown for the domestic market. Although Greece is not known as a synthetic drug producing country, in 2017, law enforcement authorities dismantled a large-scale ‘Captagon’ (amphetamine) production facility and seized a large amount of ‘Captagon’ tablets.

Greece is also a transit country for Albanian cannabis, with large quantities of herbal cannabis destined for Western Europe or Turkey smuggled through Greece either via Greek-Albanian land borders or by sea, using high-speed boats. Cannabis resin seized in Greece originates primarily from the Netherlands and Albania. In 2017, reported data signalled a notable increase both in quantities seized and in number of seizures for resin and herbal cannabis.

In 2017, the southern branch of the Balkan route passing through Bulgaria was still widely used to smuggle heroin originating from Afghanistan and Pakistan into Greece. Heroin quantities seized that year showed a small increase compared with 2016. There is also a reported increase in the number of criminal organisations operating in more than one criminal area; links were particularly noted between active drug trafficking and migrant trafficking groups.

Cocaine is smuggled into Greece, mainly by sea, directly from South America or through intermediate ports in Spain, the Netherlands or Italy. Cocaine seizures in 2017 continued the modest increase observed in 2016. It should be noted that cocaine and heroin seized in Greece are mainly destined for other European countries; nevertheless, some quantities remain in the country for domestic consumption.

Amphetamines are seized in the country only in small quantities and are considered to be mainly for local consumption.

Data on the retail price and purity of the main illicit substances seized are shown in the ‘Key statistics’ section.

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Methodological note: Analysis of trends is based only on those countries providing sufficient data to describe changes over the period specified. The reader should also be aware that monitoring patterns and trends in a hidden and stigmatised behaviour like drug use is both practically and methodologically challenging. For this reason, multiple sources of data are used for the purposes of analysis in this report. Caution is therefore required in interpretation, in particular when countries are compared on any single measure. Detailed information on methodology and caveats and comments on the limitations in the information set available can be found in the EMCDDA Statistical Bulletin.