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

Disruption in supply of heroin to Europe — new analysis


Heroin availability is reported to have dropped sharply in a number of countries at the end of 2010 and early 2011

The Annual report explores the availability of heroin on the streets of Europe and reasons for a recent instability in the market. ‘It is likely that a combination of factors may have played a role in disrupting the supply of heroin to parts of Europe, causing (mainly short-term) severe shortages in some markets’, states the report. The availability of heroin is reported to have dropped sharply in a number of countries at the end of 2010 and early 2011, with the ‘drought’ being particularly evident in Ireland and the UK. Elsewhere — Italy, Slovenia, Russia and Switzerland — shortages may also have been felt, although the extent is less clear. Heroin supply in other countries remains unaffected.

Among the possible explanations proposed for the apparent heroin shortage in Europe are: the diversion of the drug to markets in Asia; a fall in opium production in Afghanistan in 2009; and an opium poppy blight affecting major Afghan poppy-growing provinces in 2010. However, a recent review of the evidence suggests that successful cooperation between Turkish and EU police forces is likely to have played an important role. The agency notes the difficulties in tracking drug availability in Europe and the need to better understand how opium production influences consumer markets. This is especially important given the latest UNODC 2011 Afghan Opium Survey which reports increased Afghan production.

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: Friday, 11 November 2011