EU Drug Markets: In-depth analysis
Illicit drugs are big business. They are one of the main profit-generating activities of organised crime and are estimated to represent around one-fifth of global crime proceeds. 'EU Drug Markets: In-depth analysis' is the fourth comprehensive overview of illicit drug markets in the EU by the EMCDDA and Europol and takes a broad view of these markets from production and trafficking, to distribution and use. Designed as a series of modules, each focuses on the market for a particular drug.
About EU Drug Markets
'EU Drug Markets: In-depth analysis' is a strategic and action-oriented analysis of the information available on Europe's illicit drug markets. It takes a broad view of these markets from production and trafficking, to distribution and use. It provides a holistic and systemic perspective, capturing key aspects of the wider security and public health consequences of drug markets, as well as the main factors driving change and new threats.
The analysis takes a modular format and each module focuses on the market for a particular drug — thus providing a unique set of essential resources for law enforcement professionals, policymakers, the academic community and indeed for anyone seeking up-to-date information and analysis on drug markets in Europe.
This is the fourth comprehensive overview of illicit drug markets in the EU by the EMCDDA and Europol.
EMPACT: Fighting crime together
The European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats (EMPACT) tackles the most important threats posed by organised and serious international crime affecting the EU. EMPACT strengthens intelligence, strategic and operational cooperation between national authorities, EU institutions and bodies, and international partners. EMPACT runs in four-year cycles focusing on common EU crime priorities. This EU Drug Market analysis was produced by the EMCDDA and Europol with the support of the EU Member States and features in the operational action plans of EMPACT.
The EMCDDA and Europol would like to thank the following for their help and contribution to the production of this analysis:
- the European Commission;
- the Reitox network of national focal points;
- the EMCDDA reference group on drug supply indicators;
- law enforcement officials from the EU Member States, including members of EMPACT priorities on Cocaine, Cannabis and Heroin, and Synthetic Drugs and NPS;
- the EU Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL), the EU Agency for Judicial Cooperation (Eurojust) and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex);
- the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC);
- the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB);
- the World Customs Organisation (WCO).
As well as these, many other people have been involved and while it is not possible to thank everyone personally, we would like to acknowledge those who have given generously of their time to support this work. In particular, thanks are due to the staff of the following organisations for providing supplementary data and information:
- Belgian Federal Police;
- Centro de Inteligencia contra el Terrorismo y el Crimen Organizado (CITCO), Spain;
- Dutch National Police;
- French National Police;
- German Federal Police;
- Mar-Info North and South;
- Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic;
- Netherlands Forensic Institute;
- United States Drug Enforcement Administration.
We also thank the experts who have kindly answered the questions of the authors, and all those who have allowed us to reproduce their photos.
Finally, we would like to thank the many individuals and organisations whose research and analysis we have cited.
Data and methodology
The EU Drug Markets modules utilise data from multiple sources. Primarily, this include data and information reported to the EMCDDA and Europol. Global data are sourced from the UNODC and the INCB. Read more >>
The EMCDDA commissions a number of background reports to support the analysis. These will be published here as they become available.
- Environmental impact of synthetic drug production: analysis of groundwater samples for contaminants derived from illicit synthetic drug production waste (2023)
- The nexus between drug markets and gun violence in the European Union (2023)
- Estimating the size of drug markets in selected European cities using wastewater-derived data on drug and drug metabolite residues (2023)
- An analysis of cash collection systems related to the European drug market (2023)
- An analysis of drug dealing via social media (2023)
- Cryptocurrencies and drugs: Analysis of cryptocurrency use on darknet markets in the EU and neighbouring countries (2023)
- Improving the estimation of the size of the European drug market (2022)
- Albanian-speaking organised crime groups involved in drug supply (2019)
- Darknet markets and the supply of drugs and new psychoactive substances by Europe-based vendors (2019)
- Libya’s changing drug trafficking dynamics on the coastal and desert borders (2019)
- Social media-facilitated drug dealing in the Nordic countries (2019)
- Synthetic drug production sites in Belgium and the Netherlands (2019)
- Terrorism and drugs in Europe (2019)