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Drugnet Europe News from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction — January–March 2011

Measuring cannabis dependence in the general population

rolling a cannabis joint

Studies show that between a third and one half of daily cannabis users fulfil dependence criteria

The EMCDDA estimates that there are at least 4 million Europeans (1 % of all adults) using cannabis on a daily or almost daily basis. Most of these are males, reaching up to 5–7 % of young men (15–34 years) in some countries. Studies show that between a third and one half of daily cannabis users fulfil dependence criteria.

In order to formulate adequate policies and responses in this field, a reliable and valid measure of cannabis dependence or abuse in the population is essential. The EMCDDA is currently collaborating with national experts (1) to develop a common European measurement methodology, with results expected at the end of the year.

Pioneering work in this area began in 2002 in some countries (2) where psychometric scales — short instruments to assess heavier patterns of drug use — were incorporated into population
surveys and tested. Results of this work were reported regularly to the EMCDDA expert group on ‘Prevalence and patterns of drug use among the general population’. In recent years, the
EMCDDA has actively promoted and supported the translation, adaptation and validation of such scales in additional countries, in pursuit of a common European approach.

Danica Klempová

(1) Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland, Spain, France, Italy, Hungary, the Netherlands.

(2) Germany, France, the Netherlands, Poland — see Drugnet Europe No 63 and 67.

Drugnet Europe is the EMCDDA's newsletter launched in September 1996. The newsletter provides regular and succint information on the Centre's projects and activities to a broad readership.

Page last updated: Thursday, 24 March 2011