• EN

Please note that the information on this page is based on the EMCDDA Annual report 2011: the state of the drugs problem in Europe. Most statistical data relate to the year 2009 (or the last year available).

Annual report 2011: the state of the drugs problem in Europe
Amphetamines, ecstasy, hallucinogens, GHB and ketamine

Published: 15 November 2011


Amphetamines (a generic term that includes both amphetamine and methamphetamine) and ecstasy are among the most commonly used illicit drugs in Europe. In many countries, either ecstasy or amphetamines is the second most commonly used illicit substance after cannabis. In addition, in some countries, use of amphetamines constitutes an important part of the drug problem, accounting for a substantial proportion of those in need of treatment.

Amphetamine and methamphetamine are central nervous system stimulants. Of the two drugs, amphetamine is by far the more commonly available in Europe, whereas significant methamphetamine use has historically been restricted to the Czech Republic and Slovakia. More recently, there have been reports of the increased presence of this drug on the amphetamines market in some countries in the north of Europe.

Ecstasy refers to synthetic substances that are chemically related to amphetamines, but which differ to some extent in their effects. The best-known member of the ecstasy group of drugs is 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA), but other analogues are also sometimes found in ecstasy tablets (MDA, MDEA). The drug's popularity has historically been linked with the dance-music scene. While still popular in these settings, recent years have seen a gradual decline in use and availability of ecstasy in many European countries.

The most widely known synthetic hallucinogenic drug in Europe is lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), consumption of which has been low and somewhat stable for a considerable time. In recent years, there appears to have been a growing interest among young people in naturally occurring hallucinogens such as those found in hallucinogenic mushrooms. Since the mid-1990s, recreational use of ketamine and gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) - both anaesthetics, and widely used in human and veterinary medicine for 30 years - has been reported in certain settings and among sub-groups of drug users in Europe. The illicit use of these substances has become a cause for concern for treatment services in a limited number of European countries.

About the EMCDDA

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) is the reference point on drugs and drug addiction information in Europe. Inaugurated in Lisbon in 1995, it is one of the EU's decentralised agencies. Read more >>

Contact us

Praça Europa 1, Cais do Sodré
1249-289 Lisbon
Tel. (351) 211 21 02 00

More contact options >>

Page last updated: Friday, 28 October 2011