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European Drug Report 2015 online version



About the European Drug Report

European Drug Report thumbnailThe European Drug Report: Trends and Developments is a graphic-rich report summarising the latest trends across Europe. It is available in 24 languages and different formats including print, PDF, epub, as well as this interactive HTML version. All available options and formats as well as the accompanying products which make up the European Drug Report including the Statistical Bulletin, Country Overviews, the Perspectives on Drugs series, can be found on the main European Drug Report 2015 page.

We are proud to present the 20th annual analysis of Europe’s drug situation in the form of the European Drug Report (EDR) 2015.

This year’s report contains a comprehensive overview of Europe’s drug problem and the measures being taken to tackle it. The Trends and Developments report is at the centre of the interlinked set of products comprising the EDR package. Building on European and national data, it provides top-level insights into key trends, responses and policies, together with in-depth analyses of topical issues. Brand new analyses on psychosocial interventions, drug consumption facilities, misuse of benzodiazepines and heroin trafficking routes are included in the package.

The integrated, multimedia information package that forms the EDR today, however, sits in contrast to the EMCDDA annual report on the drug situation released in 1996. For the EMCDDA, 20 years ago, the challenge of establishing surveillance systems, harmonised among 15 EU Member States, must have seemed daunting. It is, therefore, an impressive achievement that the fledgling monitoring mechanisms established in 1995 have now matured into a European system encompassing 30 countries, which is globally recognised.

While we believe the EMCDDA has made a valuable contribution to the progress that has been achieved, we also acknowledge that our work is dependent on close collaboration with our partners. Fundamentally, it is the investment made by Member States in developing robust national drug information systems that makes the European analysis provided here possible.

This report is based on data collected by the Reitox network of national focal points, working closely with national experts. The analysis also benefits from ongoing collaboration with our European partners: the European Commission, Europol, the European Medicines Agency and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. We also wish to acknowledge the contribution of numerous European research groups and initiatives, without whose work our report would be far less rich.

Not only has our report changed beyond recognition in the last 20 years. So too has the extent and nature of the European drug problem. When the agency was established, Europe was in the middle of a heroin epidemic, and the need to reduce HIV transmission and AIDS-related deaths were main drivers of drug policy. Today, both heroin use and HIV problems remain central to our reporting — but they sit in a context that is more optimistic in terms of developments and more informed in terms of what constitutes effective public health responses. The complexity of the problem, however, is now far greater. This is reflected by the fact that many of the substances featured in this report were virtually unknown in Europe when the agency was established.

Today, the European drug markets continue to change and evolve rapidly. This is illustrated by the fact that, in 2014, over a hundred new psychoactive substances were detected, and risk assessments were conducted on six new drugs — both of these numbers are record highs. To keep pace with these changes, and to ensure that the analysis we provide is informed by new developments, the EMCDDA continues to work closely with researchers and practitioners. As an agency, we have always recognised the importance of delivering sound and policy-relevant information in a timely fashion. We remain committed to this goal, and to ensuring that whatever the nature of the drug problem we face, Europe’s responses will be supported by an information system that remains viable, relevant and fit for purpose.

João Goulão
Chairman, EMCDDA Management Board

Wolfgang Götz
Director, EMCDDA

Introductory note and acknowledgments

This report is based on information provided to the EMCDDA by the EU Member States, the candidate country Turkey, and Norway, in the form of a national report.

Reitox national focal points

Reitox is the European information network on drugs and drug addiction. The network is comprised of national focal points in the EU Member States, the candidate country Turkey, Norway and at the European Commission. Under the responsibility of their governments, the focal points are the national authorities providing drug information to the EMCDDA. The contact details of the national focal points may be found on the EMCDDA website.

The purpose of the current report is to prove an overview and summary of the European drug situation and responses to it. The statistical data reported here relate to 2013 (or the most recent year available). 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. Although considerable improvements can be noted, both nationally and in respect to what is possible to achieve in a European-level analysis, the methodological difficulties in this area must be acknowledged. Caution is therefore required in interpretation, in particular when countries are compared on any single measure. Caveats and qualifications relating to the data are to be found in the online version of this report and in the Statistical Bulletin, where detailed information on methodology, qualifications on analysis and comments on the limitations in the information set available can be found. Information is also available there on the methods and data used for European-level estimates, where interpolation may be used.

The EMCDDA would like to thank the following for their help in producing this report:

  • the heads of the Reitox national focal points and their staff;
  • the services and experts within each Member State that collected the raw data for this report;<
  • the members of the Management Board and the Scientific Committee of the EMCDDA;
  • the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union — in particular its Horizontal Working Party on Drugs — and the European Commission;
  • the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and Europol;
  • the Pompidou Group of the Council of Europe, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the WHO Regional Office for Europe, Interpol, the World Customs Organisation, the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD), the Sewage Analysis Core Group Europe (SCORE) and the Swedish Council for Information on Alcohol and Other Drugs (CAN);
  • the Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union, Missing Element Designers, Nigel Hawtin and Composiciones Rali.

Page last updated: Friday, 26 June 2015