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What are country overviews?

Country overviews provide a structured synopsis of the trends and characteristics of national drug problems. They consist of a summary of the national drug situation, key statistics at a glance and a barometer showing the drug use prevalence position of each country.

Situation summary

Situation summaries present brief information on drugs and drug addiction in different areas (drugs prevalence, prevention, harm reduction, drug laws etc.). They are available for the EU, acceding, candidate and potential candidate countries, Norway and several countries of the European neighbourhood and Central Asia.

A detailed analysis of the drug situation in EU Member States, Norway, Croatia and Turkey can be found in the EMCDDA's national reports.

For EU Member States, Norway, Croatia and Turkey, the summaries are produced by the EMCDDA and the Reitox national focal point (last update: 2012).

The situation summaries for other candidate and potential candidate countries have been produced within the framework of regional projects implemented by the EMCDDA’s Reitox and International cooperation unit (last update: 2011).

Overviews for neighbouring countries have been produced within the framework of regional projects financed by the European Commission programme for the Technical Assistance to the Community of Independent States (TACIS), and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) (last update: 2009).

Overviews for Central Asian countries were prepared within the framework of the Central Asia Drug Action Programme (CADAP) — Phase 5 in the Component on Drug Epidemiology Database Collection and Development (last update: 2012).

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Key data sheet

The data sheets for EU Member States, Norway, Croatia and Turkey provide a quick reference for 49 key statistics relating to the drugs field. Only the most recent data are shown and figures before 2005 are excluded. They are drawn from the Statistical bulletin tables and collated for each country individually. They allow a rapid overview assessment of any one country.

These key statistics include:

  • last-year prevalence figures for all adults and young adults for cocaine, amphetamines, ecstasy and cannabis, and lifetime prevalence figures for school students
  • rate per 1 000 population of problem opioid use
  • rate per 1 000 population of problem and injecting drug users
  • percentage of drug users infected with HIV and HCV, and HIV infections newly diagnosed in injecting drug users
  • rate per 1 000 000 population of drug-related deaths
  • drug law offences overall and for use/possession
  • number of drug users entering treatment for opioids, cocaine, amphetamines, ecstasy and cannabis
  • numbers of syringes exchanged and distributed, and number of drug users in substitution treatment
  • prices for heroin (brown), cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamine and cannabis
  • purity of heroin (brown), cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamine and cannabis.

The EU picture

The final columns on the data sheet give information not about the country itself, but about the overall EU situation for each item of information. These columns show for each item the lowest and highest values reported across the EU countries. When positioning the individual country within the EU overall, it should be remembered that not all countries provide data for each item every year. The spread shown as the EU range is therefore not always for the current year only, but more often is spread over a range of recent years, using the most recently available data from all countries. The spread of years for each item is given in the (numerical) footnotes.

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Prevalence barometer

The figures show a simplified graphical presentation of the patterns of prevalence of drug use for EU Member States, Norway, Croatia and Turkey (left-hand figure), and the position of the country in an overall rating of reporting countries (right-hand figure).

The diagrams summarise the most recent information over the past six years (2005 to 2010) provided to the EMCDDA.

The presentations are intended only as quick reference diagrams and should be used in conjunction with the cautionary notes on comparisons and limitations due to methodological and definitional differences in data collection procedures, to avoid misleading interpretations.

The rating maps each country's prevalence level onto a scale of 1 (representing the lowest) to 100 (representing the highest) prevalences across all reporting countries. The number of countries reporting generally differs from prevalence to prevalence and is stated in the diagram. Date of data collection is also shown.

Prevalence of drug use for the last year reported (LYP) and for lifetime prevalence (LTP) are give per 1 000 people (or students in the case of school surveys), except for cannabis and inhalants/volatiles. The prevalence of these drugs is given per 100 people (or students), to accommodate the information on the same scaled diagram. For problem drug use (PDU) the reported figure is generally equivalent to a one-year prevalence rate.

All estimates are subject to sampling and reporting errors, and in the case of the general population surveys confidence intervals are not reported to the EMCDDA at present, but the sample sizes are given in the tables cited as an indication of estimation reliability; for school surveys, refer to the cited tables and the ESPAD source publication.

For the full information on which the displayed data are based, refer to Tables GPS-2, EYE-20, PDU-1. For references and methods refer to Tables EYE-0, GPS-0, GPS-1 and PDU-0.

Notes on school surveys

The prevalence data presented for schools surveys are for 15/16 year old school students obtained from national surveys. The notes indicate, in some cases, that the surveys are limited to specified regions.

Caution is required comparing figures due to methodological limitations. For methods and definitions see 'Studies of youth and the schools populations — methods and definitions'.

The data on school pupils are exclusively derived from ESPAD surveys (The European school survey project on alcohol and other drugs). The sample sizes and other information are given in Statistical bulletin Tables EYE-0 and EYE-11. Further details on the ESPAD survey >>

Notes on general population surveys of all adults

The results for the last surveys available in each country are presented in the diagram. In the case of the general population surveys, confidence intervals are not reported to the EMCDDA at present, but the sample sizes are given in the Table GPS-1 as an indication of estimation reliability. In surveys with small sample sizes, results should be interpreted with caution.

Note that cannabis and cocaine use prevalence refers to the drugs in any form. For methods and definitions on population surveys in general, see ‘Prevalence and patterns of drug use in the general population — methods and definitions’.

See also ‘General notes for interpreting data’ on the Explanatory notes and help page.

Countries report, as far as possible, data for EMCDDA standard age groups (all adults: 15–64, young adults: 15–34). See Tables GPS-2 and GPS-8 for details of the precise age groups covered by the surveys. For full information of all surveys available for each country, see Table GPS-1, for details of bibliographic references of each survey see Table GPS-0.

Notes on problem drug use estimates

The range of estimation (either from confidence interval or sensitivity analysis) is not shown in the diagrams; estimates may be made by different methods in different countries. Midpoints of ranges have been calculated in cases where no central estimate was provided to facilitate interpretation and comparisons. The ranges reported may have arisen either from confidence intervals or from a sensitivity analysis.

See Table PDU-1 for details. For further details on data sources, methods and other comments see tables Table PDU-102. See Table PDU-0 for details of bibliographic references.

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Page last updated: Monday, 27 May 2013