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Drug law offences (DLO)

Drug law offences

'Reports' of offences against national drug legislation (use, possession, trafficking, etc.) reflect differences in law but also the different ways in which the law is enforced and applied, and the priorities and resources allocated to specific problems by criminal justice agencies.

Overview of the data

The tables in this section monitor over time the numbers of 'reports' of drug law offences for each country that provided data. Tables include data from the EU Member States, Turkey and Norway.

Summary points

  • Overall, the number of reports of drug law offences, weighted by population size, has increased on average by 47% between 2000 and 2005 at EU level. See Figure DLO-6. Data show increasing trends in all European reporting countries except Latvia, Portugal and Slovenia, which report an overall decline over the five-year period. See Figure DLO-1 (part (i) for the EU-15 and Norway and part (ii) for the new EU Member States and Turkey). Table DLO-1 gives, by country, a historical perspective of the development of the number of 'reports''for drug law offences in the medium term in part (i) (1995-2005) and over a longer period in Part (ii) (1985-2005).
  • In most European countries, the majority of reported drug law offences are related to drug use or possession for use. See Table DLO-2, which gives for 2005 by country the percentage of offence type categorised by use/possession for use, dealing/trafficking or both use and trafficking.
  • Over the period 2000-2005, the number of offences for use/possession for use increased in a majority of reporting countries. See Table DLO-4, which gives, by country, the medium-term historical changes in the number of drug law offences that are related to use or possession for use. See also Table DLO-5which gives, by country, the medium-term historical changes in the proportion of drug law offences that are related to use or possession for use.
  • In most countries, cannabis is the illicit drug most often involved in reported drug law offences. In the countries where this is the case, cannabis-related offences in 2005 accounted for between 42 and 74 % of all drug law offences. In the Czech Republic, methamphetamine-related offences predominated; while in Luxembourg cocaine is the most reported substance. See Table DLO-3for a breakdown by substance of all reports for drug law offences, by country, in 2005.
  • See Figure DLO-2 ( for the EU-15 and Norway and for the new EU Member States and Turkey). See also In the last five years (2000-2005), the number of 'reports' of drug law offences involving cannabis has been overall stable or increasing in a majority of reporting countries, resulting in an overall averaged increase of 36% at EU level. See Figure DLO-6. Downward trends were, however, reported by the Czech Republic (2002-2005) and Slovenia (2001-2005).part (i)part (ii)Table DLO-6which gives, by country, the medium-term historical changes in the proportion of drug law offences that are related to cannabis.
  • In all reporting countries, except Luxembourg and the Netherlands, cannabis is usually more predominant in offences for use/possession for use than any other drug. However, the proportion of use-related offences involving cannabis has been decreasing since 2000 in several countries (Greece, Italy, Cyprus, Austria, Slovenia and Turkey) and in the last year (2004–2005) in a majority of reporting countries. See Figure DLO-3 (part (i) for the EU-15 and Norway and part (ii) for the new EU Member States and Turkey).
  • , Cocaine-related offences have increased over the last 5 years (2000-2005) in all European countries, except Germany where they remained quite stable. See Figure DLO-4 (part (i) for the EU-15 and Norway and part (ii) for the new EU Member States and Turkey). The EU average shows an increase of 62% over the same period.See Figure DLO-6. See also Table DLO-8which gives, by country, the medium-term historical changes in the proportion of drug law offences that are related to cocaine.
  • , Over 2000-2005, 'reports' of drug law offences related to heroin show a different picture to those related to cannabis or cocaine, dropping on the whole by an averaged 15% in the European Union, mainly between 2001 and 2003. See Figure DLO-6. However, national trends in heroin offences have been diverging over the period with a third of the countries reporting upward trends. See Figure DLO-5 (part (i) for the EU-15 and Norway and part (ii) for the new EU Member States and Turkey). See also Table DLO-7which gives, by country, the medium-term historical changes in the proportion of drug law offences that are related to heroin.

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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 >>

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Page last updated: Tuesday, 20 March 2012