Have Questions?
1-877-893-8276
We Have Answers!

Don't Know What To Do?

Call Now to speak with a Certified Treatment Assesment Counselor who will guide you every step of the way.
This is a free service • 100% Confidential
1-877-893-8276

Treatment Help Request

Contact us now to get immediate help: 1-877-893-8276

European Drug Use Facts, Policies & Trends

  1. "The EU drug strategy 2005–12, adopted by the European Council in December 2004, takes into account the results of the final evaluation of progress made during the previous period (2000–04). It aims to add value to the national strategies while respecting the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality set out in the treaties. It sets out two general goals for the EU with regard to drugs:
    "-to achieve a high level of health protection, well-being and social cohesion by complementing the Member States’ action in preventing and reducing drug use and dependence and drug-related harm to health and the fabric of society;
    "-to ensure a high level of security for the general public by taking action against drug production and supply and cross-border trafficking, and intensifying preventive action against drug-related crime through effective cooperation between Member States."

    Source: "Annual Report 2005: The State of the Drugs Problem in Europe," European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2005), p. 18.

  2. European Drug Use Statistics

  3. "Levels of drug use in the USA have historically been considerably higher than those in European countries. To a large extent, this remains true today, but comparison of data on recent use (last year prevalence) suggests that in a few European countries levels of cannabis, ecstasy and cocaine use among young adults are now similar to those in the USA. And in the case of the recent use of ecstasy by young adults, US estimates are below those in several European countries, possibly reflecting the strong European link in the historical development of the use of this drug. However, overall, the European population average remains lower than the US average on all measures. In many European countries, widespread drug use occurred later than in the USA, and this may be reflected in the higher US lifetime prevalence estimates (see Figures 1, 2 and 3 in the 2005 statistical bulletin), which to some extent can be thought of as cumulative indicators of use levels over time."

    Source: "Annual Report 2005: The State of the Drugs Problem in Europe," European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2005), p. 14.

  4. "An estimate of the total number of adults (15 to 64 years) using cannabis in the EU as a whole can be constructed from the available national estimates. This exercise suggests that around 20% of the total population, or over 62 million people, have ever tried cannabis. This figure falls to around 6% of adults, or in excess of 20 million people, when the more recent use of cannabis is considered (last year prevalence). For comparison, in the 2003 United States national survey on drug use and health (SAMHSA, 2003), 40.6% of adults (defined as 12 years and older) reported having tried cannabis or marijuana at least once and 10.6% reported having used it during the previous 12 months. Among 18- to 25-year-olds, the figures were 53.9% (lifetime), 28.5% (last 12 months) and 17% (last month) (37)."

    Source: "Annual Report 2005: The State of the Drugs Problem in Europe," European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2005), p. 36.

  5. "Although the predominant European trend since the mid- 1990s has been upward, some countries exhibit a more stable pattern. For example, although rates of cannabis use in the United Kingdom since the 1990s have been particularly high, they have remained stable over this period. In addition, there has been little change in the levels of cannabis use in several low-prevalence countries, including Finland and Sweden in the north of Europe and Greece and Malta in the south. Most of the increases in cannabis use recorded in ESPAD since 1999 have occurred in the new EU Member States. Analysis of school data and general population survey evidence suggests that, on most measures, the Czech Republic, Spain and France have now joined the United Kingdom to form a group of high-prevalence countries."

    Source: "Annual Report 2005: The State of the Drugs Problem in Europe," European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2005), p. 11.

  6. "Current estimates suggest there are probably between 1.2 and 2.1 million problem drug users in the EU, of whom 850 000 to 1.3 million are likely to be recent injectors. Problem drug use prevalence estimates over time are patchy, making it difficult to identify long-term trends. However, in the EU-15 Member States, indicators broadly suggest that the rapid recruitment into heroin use that most countries had been experiencing peaked at some time in the early 1990s and was followed by a more stable situation thereafter. Although several countries have continued to report increases since 1999, there are recent signs that this situation is not uniform, with prevalence estimates showing no consistent picture at EU level. In particular, the new Member States deserve special mention, as they appear to have experienced heroin problems later and to have a more fluid situation."

    Source: "Annual Report 2005: The State of the Drugs Problem in Europe," European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2005), p. 12.

  7. "Additional sources of information for assessing problem drug use are the numbers of drug-related deaths and treatment demands. Analysis of drug-related deaths (most commonly due to opiate overdose) suggests that the victims constitute an ageing population, with recorded deaths among drug users younger than 25 having fallen since 1996. An important qualification is that data from the newer EU countries, although limited, show until recently an upwards trend in the proportion of deaths among those under 25, although a degree of stabilisation now appears to have occurred. Overall, although the number of drugrelated deaths in the EU remains at a historically high level, it seems likely to have peaked."

    Source: "Annual Report 2005: The State of the Drugs Problem in Europe," European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2005), p. 12.

  8. "Europe remains a major market for stimulant drugs, and indicators suggest that for Europe as a whole the trend in amphetamine, ecstasy and cocaine use continues to be upwards. Ecstasy has, on many measures, overtaken amphetamines as Europe’s second most used drug after cannabis. However, in the United Kingdom, which since the 1990s has on most measures had the highest prevalence rates of ecstasy and amphetamine use, both general and school population recent survey data suggest that rates of use of both drugs may be falling, quite dramatically for amphetamine and to a more limited extent for ecstasy. Nevertheless, prevalence rates in the United Kingdom remain relatively high in comparison with other countries, although the difference is now less marked, as a number of countries now report similar rates of use, resembling the picture described above for cannabis."

    Source: "Annual Report 2005: The State of the Drugs Problem in Europe," European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2005), p. 12.

  9. "Prevalence of cocaine use varies considerably in Europe, but again the trend generally appears upwards. Survey data suggest that, in Spain and the United Kingdom in particular, cocaine use increased substantially during the late 1990s, and recently there have been further, albeit small, increases. In both of these countries, estimates for the recent use of cocaine among young adults now exceed those for ecstasy and amphetamine."

    Source: "Annual Report 2005: The State of the Drugs Problem in Europe," European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2005), p. 12.

  10. "The public health impact of stimulant use in Europe is difficult to quantify, although the evidence suggests that we should not be complacent about current consumption patterns. Cocaine-related treatment demands are increasing. Although there is considerable variation between countries, cocaine accounts for about 10% of all treatment demands across Europe. The use of crack cocaine, a form of the drug particularly associated with health and other problems, remains limited in Europe. Reports of crack cocaine use are generally restricted to a few major cities, but within the communities where this drug is used the resulting harm can be considerable. A number of practical and methodological issues make the assessment of the number of stimulant-related deaths in Europe difficult. Though small in comparison with reported opiate-related deaths, the number of stimulant-related deaths may be increasing and is probably under-reported. Although data are currently very limited, a number of countries indicate that cocaine plays a determining role in around 10% of all drug-related deaths. Ecstasy-related deaths remain rare in most EU countries, although reporting procedures could be improved."

    Source: "Annual Report 2005: The State of the Drugs Problem in Europe," European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2005), p. 13.

  11. "To date, the use of methamphetamine in Europe has largely been restricted to the Czech Republic, which has a long-established problem with this drug. Elsewhere in Europe, there are only sporadic reports that methamphetamine is available, with some reports of seizures and occasional mentions of importation from the Czech Republic to neighbouring countries. However, given that many European countries have strong links with parts of the world where methamphetamine problems exist, and considering the growing nature of the European market for stimulants, the potential for the spread of methamphetamine use cannot be ignored and thus this remains an important area for vigilance."

    Source: "Annual Report 2005: The State of the Drugs Problem in Europe," European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2005), p. 13.

  12. "Although comparisons between countries must be made with caution, it seems that between the late 1990s and 2003 drug law offences increased in many EU countries. Increases were particularly marked in some of the new Member States. In most countries, the majority of reports are for the possession or use of drugs. In most Member States, the majority of offences involve cannabis, and since 1998 in most countries the proportion of cannabis offences has either increased or remained stable. In contrast, the proportion of offences that are heroin related has fallen in many countries."

    Source: "Annual Report 2005: The State of the Drugs Problem in Europe," European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2005), pp. 15-16.

  13. "For example, in 2003 Belgium created a new category of offence that allows non-problematic cannabis users not to be prosecuted, Greece reduced the maximum penalty for drug use from five years to one year, and Hungary removed the offence of drug use from its penal code. In 2002, Estonia removed the offence of repeated use or possession of a small amount of illicit drugs for personal use (with its associated maximum three-year prison sentence), although Lithuania added the offence of possession to its penal code, with a potential punishment of imprisonment for up to two years. In 2001, Luxembourg decriminalised cannabis use and removed the associated prison sentence for simple cannabis use not associated with aggravating circumstances, and Finland enacted the drug user offence, with a lower maximum sentence of imprisonment and summary penal proceedings by the prosecutor. In 2000, Portugal enacted administrative sanctions for drug use, though in the same year Poland removed the exemption from punishment previously possible for the offence of possession."

    Source: "Annual Report 2005: The State of the Drugs Problem in Europe," European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2005), p. 24.

  14. "For example, it was reported last year that Belgium and the United Kingdom effectively lowered the penalty for non-problematic cannabis possession. In Belgium, a new directive issued in February 2005 clarified the exceptions to this reduced penalty, calling for full prosecution in cases involving 'disturbance of public order'. This includes possession of cannabis in or near places where schoolchildren might gather (schools, parks, bus stops) and also 'blatant' possession in a public place or building."

    Source: "Annual Report 2005: The State of the Drugs Problem in Europe," European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2005), p. 24.

  15. "The analysis of national drug strategies, legal literature, laws, and judicial practice, suggests that in several EU countries public action is be based on a) a more powerful focus on treatment rather than on criminal punishment; b) on a sense of disproportion between custodial sentences (often involving a criminal record) and illicit use of drugs; and c) on the perception that cannabis is less dangerous to health compared to other drugs (65). Indeed, the increased recourse to social welfare and treatment systems (for drugs such as heroin, cocaine, amphetamines and, more recently, cannabis), rather than custodial sentences is an integral part of the legal approach to drug use."

    Source: European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction, "EMCDDA Thematic Papers - Illicit Drug Use in the EU: Legislative Approaches" (Lisbon, Portugal: EMCDDA, 2005), p. 22.

  16. "In the EU Member States, notwithstanding different positions and attitudes, we can see a trend (in many of them) to conceive the illicit use of drugs (including its preparatory acts) as a relatively 'minor' offence, to which it is not adequate to apply 'sanctions involving deprivation of liberty'. In these countries, prisons sentences do not seem to be the most effective instrument to prevent (and punish) drugs use. Even though use and possession of drugs for personal use are among the majority of drugs related offences reported to the judiciary, indeed the courts seems to prefer treatment, other social support measures and to a certain extent sanctions not involving deprivation of liberty, such as discontinuance, suspension of proceedings, cautioning and fines, in particular and for very small quantities, when simple use of drugs is not accompanied by aggravating circumstances."

    Source: European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction, "EMCDDA Thematic Papers - Illicit Drug Use in the EU: Legislative Approaches" (Lisbon, Portugal: EMCDDA, 2005), p. 22.

  17. The European Union's drugs monitoring agency reported in 2005 that "At present (November 2004), there are 7 countries (out of 26) – Cyprus, France, Finland, Greece, Luxembourg (the latter except for cannabis) Sweden and Norway – in which the simple use of drugs is deemed a criminal offence.
    "Simple use is deemed an administrative offence in Estonia, Spain, Latvia and Portugal.
    "The other Member States do not directly prohibit the simple use of drugs, but indirectly do so by prohibiting acts preparatory to use, in particular, possession. The legal provisions on use in these countries therefore actually relate to the possession of small quantities for the purposes of personal use, a concept that includes not only the idea of single use but also its preparatory acts."

    Source: European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction, "EMCDDA Thematic Papers - Illicit Drug Use in the EU: Legislative Approaches" (Lisbon, Portugal: EMCDDA, 2005), p. 13.

  18. "The possession of drugs for personal use (in the sense of possession for unauthorised purposes) is expressly prohibited in all EU countries.
    "Sanctions may vary: in seven countries (listed below), in the absence of aggravating circumstances and in the case of small quantities for personal use only, the law foresees sanctions 'not including deprivation of liberty'. This means that the prosecutor when the above conditions are met cannot impose a prison term sentence, but instead he/she has recourse to a non-custodial measure; pecuniary fines are among the most referred to there. Outside these conditions, and when 'more serious' circumstances are involved, prison sentences will apply.
    "In the Czech Republic, Spain, Italy and Portugal this concerns all drugs, while in Ireland, Luxembourg and Belgium just cannabis."

    Source: European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction, "EMCDDA Thematic Papers - Illicit Drug Use in the EU: Legislative Approaches" (Lisbon, Portugal: EMCDDA, 2005), p. 13.

  19. "Differences in the prevalence of drug use are influenced by a variety of factors in each country. As countries with more liberal drug policies (such as the Netherlands) and those with a more restricted approach (such as Sweden) have not very different prevalence rates, the impact of national drug policies (more liberal versus more restrictive approaches) on the prevalence of drug use and especially problem drug use remains unclear. However, comprehensive national drug policies are of high importance in reducing adverse consequences of problem drug use such as HIV infections, hepatitis B and C and overdose deaths."

    Source: European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction, "2001 Annual Report on the State of the Drugs Problem in the European Union" (Brussells, Belgium: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2001), p. 12.

  20. "Estimates of the prevalence of problem drug use at national level over the period 1999–2003 range between two and ten cases per 1,000 population aged 15–64 (based on midpoints of estimates) or up to 1% of the adult population (105). Prevalence appears to differ greatly between countries, although when different methods have been used within one country the results are largely consistent. Higher estimates are reported by Denmark, Spain, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Austria, Portugal and the United Kingdom (6–10 cases per 1,000 inhabitants aged 15–64 years), and lower rates are reported by Germany, Greece, the Netherlands and Poland (fewer than four cases per 1 000 inhabitants aged 15–64 years) (Figure 12). Among the new countries of the EU and the candidate countries, well-documented estimates are available from only the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovenia, where figures are in the low to middle range at 3.6, 1.9 and 5.3 per 1,000 population aged 15–64 respectively. The weighted average rate of PDU in the EU is probably between four and seven cases per 1 000 population aged 15–64 years, which works out at 1.2–2.1 million problem drug users in the EU, of whom some 850,000 to 1.3 million are active injectors. However, these estimates are far from robust and will need to be refined as more data become available from the new Member States."

    Source: "Annual Report 2005: The State of the Drugs Problem in Europe," European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2005), p. 61.

  21. Regarding problem drug use, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction reported in 2004 that "Studies of heroin users in treatment suggest a marked difference between countries in the extent to which users inject or smoke the drug. Among new treatment demands by those using heroin, less than half now report injecting and, in some countries, injecting appears to be coming increasingly uncommon. Elsewhere, and particularly, but not exclusively, in the new Member States, drug injecting remains the norm among heroin users. Overall estimates of prevalence of injecting drug use range from two to six cases per 1 000 of the adult population.
    "The HIV epidemic is spreading in some of the new members of the EU and in bordering countries although prevalence rates in the EU countries vary widely. In western Europe, the apparent stabilisation or decline in HIV prevalence is threatened by concerns about some new local outbreaks that have occurred since the mid-1990s and the continuing high rates of infection found in some populations."

    Source: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, "Annual Report 2004: The State of the Drugs Problem in the European Union and Norway" (Lisboa, Portugal: EMCDDA, 2004), p. 12.

  22. "The latest ESPAD [European school survey project on alcohol and other drugs] survey data, from 2003, reveal that the highest lifetime prevalence of cannabis use among 15- and 16-year-old school students is in the Czech Republic (44%) (Figure 1). The lowest lifetime prevalence estimates (less than 10%) occur in Greece, Cyprus, Sweden, Norway, Romania and Turkey. Countries where the rate is higher than 25% include Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovakia and Slovenia (27% and 28%), while the highest lifetime prevalence estimates, ranging from 32% to 40%, are reported in Belgium, France, Ireland and the United Kingdom. In most countries, since 1995, there has been a consistent increase in the number of school students who have ever tried cannabis. However, country variations are marked."

    Source: "Annual Report 2005: The State of the Drugs Problem in Europe," European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2005), pp. 27-28.

  23. "New data from 2003 ESPAD surveys of 15- to 16-year-old school students show that lifetime prevalence of cannabis use ranges from 3% to 44%. Between 2% and 36% of school students report having used the drug in the last 12 months, while use in the last month ranged from 0% in some countries to 19% in others (Figure 1). There are relative variations in the different prevalence rates. For example, lifetime prevalence is highest in the Czech Republic, but current (last month) use is highest in Spain and France (22%)."

    Source: "Annual Report 2005: The State of the Drugs Problem in Europe," European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2005), p. 28.

  24. "Between 1999 and 2003, in the Czech Republic there was an increase of 5% in the number of school students who reported having tried cannabis at the age of 13 or younger. Thirteen other EU countries reported small increases (1–3%) (24). A decrease (of 1%) was reported only in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom."

    Source: "Annual Report 2005: The State of the Drugs Problem in Europe," European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2005), p. 28.

  25. "Cannabis is by far the most commonly used illegal substance in Europe. Recent population surveys indicate that between 3% and 31% of adults (aged 15 to 64 years) have tried the substance at least once (lifetime use). The lowest prevalence rates of lifetime use are found in Malta (3.5%), Portugal (7.6%) and Poland (7.7%) and the highest in France (26.2%), the United Kingdom (30.8%) and Denmark (31.3%). In most countries (15 of 23 countries with information) lifetime prevalence lies between 10% and 25%.
    "Between 1% and 11% of adults report having used cannabis in the last 12 months, with Malta, Greece and Sweden presenting the lowest prevalence rates and the Czech Republic, France, Spain and the United Kingdom the highest. Most countries (14) reported prevalence rates of recent use of between 3% and 7%."

    Source: "Annual Report 2005: The State of the Drugs Problem in Europe," European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2005), p. 36.

  26. "What the available findings, obtained from different types of surveys (national or local household surveys, conscript and school surveys), reveal is that cannabis use increased markedly during the 1990s in almost all EU countries, particularly among young people, and that cannabis use has continued to increase in recent years in some countries (Figure 4). In the United Kingdom, which until 2000 exhibited the highest figures, cannabis use among young adults remained relatively stable between 1998 and 2003/04, with other countries (France and Spain (40)) catching up. In Greece there was a reported decrease between 1998 and 2004."

    Source: "Annual Report 2005: The State of the Drugs Problem in Europe," European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2005), p. 38.

  27. "A comparison of the results of the 1995, 1999 and 2003 ESPAD school surveys (Hibell et al., 2004) shows that, in almost all Member States and candidate countries that participated in the survey, the prevalence of lifetime use of cannabis among 15- to 16-year-old school students increased by 2% or more (Figure 5). In more than half of these countries, prevalence estimates have doubled or trebled since 1995. The highest relative increases occurred mainly in eastern European Member States that had reported lifetime cannabis prevalence rates of less than 10% in 1995. In none of the countries surveyed by ESPAD was there a continuous and noticeable decrease in lifetime use of cannabis across the three surveys."

    Source: "Annual Report 2005: The State of the Drugs Problem in Europe," European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2005), p. 38.

  28. European Harm Reduction

  29. "Needle and syringe exchange programmes, which provide drug injectors with sterile equipment, are now found in virtually all EU Member States, and in most countries the medium-term trend has been for an increase in both the scale of activities and the geographical coverage. In some Member States, pharmacies also play an important role in extending the coverage of these kinds of programmes. Specialist programmes are often integrated into broader services for those with drug problems, especially lowthreshold agencies, and as such are often regarded as a way of making contact with active drug users and perhaps of providing a conduit to treatment and other services."

    Source: "Annual Report 2005: The State of the Drugs Problem in Europe," European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2005), pp. 13-15.

  30. "Needle and syringe programmes (NSPs) started in the European Union in the mid-1980s as an immediate response to the threat of an HIV epidemic among drug injectors and expanded rapidly over the course of the 1990s (Figure 18). In 1993, publicly funded programmes already existed in more than half of the current 25 EU Member States and in Norway. Today, NSPs are available in Bulgaria, Romania and Norway as well as in all EU countries, except Cyprus, where sterile equipment is, however, freely obtainable at pharmacies and an official NSP is under consideration (138). Once such programmes have been introduced to a country, the geographical coverage of outlets for NSPs generally increases continually. Many countries have now achieved full geographical coverage, with pharmacies being a crucial partner in several Member States. However, in Sweden, the two programmes started in 1986 in the south of the country remain the only ones; and in Greece, the number of NSPs is limited and they are only available in Athens (139)."

    Source: "Annual Report 2005: The State of the Drugs Problem in Europe," European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2005), p. 67.

  31. "NSPs are usually integrated firmly into the work of low-threshold drug counselling agencies (see box 'Making services more accessible'), outreach work and the care for the homeless in the EU countries and Norway. As agencies that have a low threshold of access are successful in reaching hidden populations of active drug users, they can be an important starting point for contact, prevention, education and advice, as well as for referrals to treatment. It is also increasingly recognised that low-threshold services can be a vital platform for offering basic medical care, infectious disease screening and vaccination and antiviral treatment to members of the community who, for a variety of reasons, may find it difficult to access more formal healthcare services."

    Source: "Annual Report 2005: The State of the Drugs Problem in Europe," European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2005), p. 68.

  32. "Overall, the incidence of AIDS due to drug injecting has been in decline for some time. Heterosexual contact has now overtaken injecting drug use as the highest risk factor for the development of AIDS in Europe. This may be attributable to the increasing availability of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) since 1996, the increase in treatment and harm reduction services and declining numbers of drug injectors in most affected countries. Estimates from the WHO suggest that in most European countries over 75% of those needing HAART have access to it. However, coverage is estimated to be poor in a number of Baltic countries, and this may be reflected in an increase in new AIDS cases among drug injectors in at least some countries in this area. At one time rates of new HIV infections were also increasing dramatically in some Baltic countries, but recent rates have declined equally dramatically, probably due to the saturation of the populations most at risk; moreover, arguably, an increase in service provision may be having an effect in some areas."

    Source: "Annual Report 2005: The State of the Drugs Problem in Europe," European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2005), p. 15.

  33. "Among most of the other new EU Member States, HIV prevalence rates remain low, as they do in many of the EU-15 Member States. Of those EU countries where HIV prevalence rates were historically high among drug injectors, most have seen a significant decrease and then stabilisation. This is not to say that these problems have disappeared: despite methodological difficulties that make trends difficult to interpret at the national level, some recent studies report new transmissions among certain subpopulations of drug injectors, emphasising the need for continuing vigilance."

    Source: "Annual Report 2005: The State of the Drugs Problem in Europe," European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2005), p. 15.

  34. "In general, investment in needle and syringe exchange programmes (NSPs) for drug injectors appears to have increased across the EU. Estonia and Latvia have rapidly expanded services in this area, and NSPs have also been introduced in Northern Ireland and Flanders (Belgium). However, in some countries with established programmes the number of syringes distributed has fallen, possibly reflecting lower levels of injecting. The main trends in the development of low-threshold services are for greater integration with other survival-oriented services, such as shelters and primary healthcare facilities, and for greater flexibility in opening hours. Drug consumption rooms are provided by three Member States, and in 2004 the EMCDDA published a detailed study on these facilities."

    Source: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, "Annual Report 2004: The State of the Drugs Problem in the European Union and Norway" (Lisboa, Portugal: EMCDDA, 2004), p. 12.

  35. "Many countries believe (erroneously) that the international drug conventions prohibit the use of heroin in medical treatment. Furthermore, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) has exerted great pressure on countries to cease prescribing heroin for any medical purpose. Nevertheless, a few countries, including the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Iceland, Malta, Canada and Switzerland, continue to use heroin (diamorphine) for general medical purposes, mostly in hospital settings (usually for severe pain relief). Until recently, however, Britain was the only country that allowed doctors to prescribe heroin for the treatment of drug dependence."

    Stimson, Gerry V., and Nicky Metrebian, Centre for Research on Drugs and Health Behavior, "Prescribing Heroin: What is the Evidence?" (London, England: Rowntree Foundation, 2003), p. 4.

  36. "One area of service provision that has clearly expanded during the last decade is that of opioid drug substitution treatment, especially in those countries with relatively high levels of injecting heroin use. Methadone accounts for just under 80% of substitution treatment in Europe, and more than 90% of substitution treatment in specialist services, but buprenorphine is becoming an increasingly popular pharmacological option and probably accounts for about 20% of substitution treatment in Europe."

    Source: "Annual Report 2005: The State of the Drugs Problem in Europe," European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2005), p. 13.

  37. "It is currently estimated that the number of people in drug substitution treatment in Europe is in excess of 500,000, which would suggest that between one quarter and one half of those with opiate problems may be enrolled in substitution treatment."

    Source: "Annual Report 2005: The State of the Drugs Problem in Europe," European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2005), p. 13.

  38. "Drug-related treatment in the majority of Member States largely involves treatment for opiate use, or polydrug use including opiates. Some form of substitution treatment remains the predominant therapeutic option for this group, although in the new Member States availability of substitution treatment is limited and drug-free treatment regimes remain common. It should also be noted that in the Czech Republic, Finland and Sweden injecting amphetamine users constitute a significant proportion of those in drug treatment."

    Source: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, "Annual Report 2004: The State of the Drugs Problem in the European Union and Norway" (Lisboa, Portugal: EMCDDA, 2004), p. 12.

  39. "Methadone is available in almost all Member States (see Table 3) and continues to be the most commonly prescribed substitution treatment in Europe. However, in recent years, treatment options have widened. Buprenorphine is now available in 18 of the 26 countries for which information is available. Treatment with other agonists, as well as treatment with antagonists (naltrexone, naloxone or clonidine), is less frequently used across the EU. A study on the introduction of controlled heroin prescriptions is currently under way in Belgium, and Austria has received an expert opinion on heroin-assisted treatment of chronic opiate addicts, based on the results of existing international programmes."

    Source: "Annual Report 2005: The State of the Drugs Problem in Europe," European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2005), p. 73.

  40. "Rates of hepatitis C (HCV) infection remain high among drug injectors in Europe, with studies finding that from a quarter up to almost all the injectors surveyed have antibodies to the virus. In some cases, a direct correlation between rates of HCV and HIV infection can be observed. Hepatitis B infection also remains common among injecting drug users (IDUs) in Europe, despite the availability of vaccination. With the possible exception of some of the Baltic countries, the prevalence of tuberculosis among IDUs in EU countries remains low, but high rates of infection are found in some countries bordering the EU."

    Source: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, "Annual Report 2004: The State of the Drugs Problem in the European Union and Norway" (Lisboa, Portugal: EMCDDA, 2004), p. 12.

  41. "Opiates remain the principal cause of death associated with illicit substances in Europe. Each year there are between 8,000 and 9,000 recorded fatal overdoses, but this figure is almost certainly an underestimate. Most victims are young men in their mid to late 20s or early 30s, although ages at death appear to be rising. Although considerable inter-country variation is found, in general drug-related deaths steadily increased in the EU as a whole over the 1980s and 1990s. Between 2000 and 2001, many countries reported a decrease in the numbers of drugrelated deaths and, as a result, at EU level, there was a small but statistically significant fall in reported deaths, from 8,838 to 8,306. However, the number of deaths remains high from a historical perspective."

    Source: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, "Annual Report 2004: The State of the Drugs Problem in the European Union and Norway" (Lisboa, Portugal: EMCDDA, 2004), p. 12.

  42. In the European Union, "Healthcare, educational and social policies are becoming more important in reducing drug-related problems in the widest sense, and it is increasingly recognised that the criminal justice system alone is not always capable of handling the problem of drug use. The link between social exclusion policy and drug issues is stronger in some countries, such as Ireland and the United Kingdom, than in others. Several countries in the EU have introduced legislative changes to facilitate the treatment and rehabilitation of addicts and other legal changes have opened up possibilities for early interventions among young experimental drug users. Denmark, Germany, the United Kingdom and Norway have increased healthcare investment in an attempt to reduce the number of drugrelated deaths. In line with the EU action plan’s commitment to provide a variety of wide and easily accessible treatment options, some countries, for example Finland and Greece, have changed their financing schemes as well as regulations regarding substitution treatment."

    Source: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, "Annual Report 2003: The State of the Drugs Problem in the European Union and Norway" (Lisboa, Portugal: EMCDDA, 2003, p. 12.

  43. "A recent study on the prosecution of drug-related offences, commissioned by the EMCDDA in 2000, also found that the judicial process involving possession/use of small amounts of drugs in private is usually dropped before court stage. Public possession/use, sale by drug users and acquisitive crimes linked to drug addiction, however, often result in stronger measures by prosecutors and courts."

    Source: European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction, "2001 Annual Report on the State of the Drugs Problem in the European Union" (Brussells, Belgium: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2001, p. 25.

  44. In the European Union, "Since 2001, there has been a further increase in the number and geographical coverage of needle and syringe programmes (NSPs) in several Member States (97). In particular, in Estonia and Latvia, a rapid expansion of new services is taking place, supported by local, national and international grants in response to significant HIV epidemics. In Scotland, the number of syringes exchanged increased almost threefold between 1997 and 2002, and further increases are expected after the maximum number of syringes was raised to 60 per client visit, facilitating peer exchange. Closing the remaining geographical gaps in west European countries, NSPs have now also been established in Northern Ireland (pharmacy based) and in Flanders (Belgium). However, in Sweden, discussions about an expansion of NSPs are still in progress."

    Source: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, "Annual Report 2004: The State of the Drugs Problem in the European Union and Norway" (Lisboa, Portugal: EMCDDA, 2004), pp. 56-7.

  45. "Where studies on syringe access have been conducted, the results show that purchase from pharmacies is the most common source of injecting equipment (e.g. 30–45% of NSP clients in Belgium, 32% in Luxembourg and 30–40% in Hungary). In four countries pharmacies play a significant role in syringe exchange or provision: in Spain, Portugal and the United Kingdom, pharmacies replace syringes for free, and in France, State-subsidised 'stérikits' are sold mainly in pharmacies. As a result of the involvement of pharmacies, these four countries have achieved a good geographical coverage of needle exchange points. In the other countries, drug users have to purchase syringes (and other paraphernalia), and the high price in some countries is a matter of concern."

    Source: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, "Annual Report 2004: The State of the Drugs Problem in the European Union and Norway" (Lisboa, Portugal: EMCDDA, 2004), p. 57.

  46. "Distribution of an opiate antagonist, naloxone, is one measure taken in some countries with the aim of reducing heroin overdoses (Sporer, 2003). In Italy, a significant number of Unità de Strada (street drugs services) provide drug users with naloxone, which can be administered as an interim emergency measure while awaiting medical help. A pilot study in Berlin of combined first aid training and naloxone distribution found increased competence to react adequately in drug emergencies and medically justified use of the antagonist in the large majority of cases (93 %) (Dettmer, 2002). The same study also pointed to the relevance of naloxone for emergencies occurring in domestic settings."

    Source: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, "Annual Report 2003: The State of the Drugs Problem in the European Union and Norway" (Lisboa, Portugal: EMCDDA, 2003, p. 49.

  47. "In some German and Spanish cities, supervised consumption facilities have been introduced, targeting the often marginalised populations of open drug scenes. Supervised consumption rooms are also to be found in the Netherlands. Among other services, they provide immediate emergency care in cases of overdose. A study of consumption rooms in Germany (Poschadel et al., 2003) found that they contributed significantly to a reduction in drug-related deaths at city level and improved access to further health and treatment services for problem drug users who are not reached by other services."

    Source: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, "Annual Report 2003: The State of the Drugs Problem in the European Union and Norway" (Lisboa, Portugal: EMCDDA, 2003, p. 49.

  48. In the European Union, "Methadone is by far the most used substitution substance. Buprenorphine, the most used substitution substance in France for years, is also prescribed by private doctors in Portugal and Luxembourg. Sweden is preparing restrictions on the prescription of buprenorphine, and in Finland illicit misuse of buprenorphine has caused demand for treatment, with a few deaths reported related to misuse of buprenorphine and depressants. Currently, buprenorphine is used to a much lesser extent than methadone in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Spain, Austria and the United Kingdom."

    Source: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, "Annual Report 2003: The State of the Drugs Problem in the European Union and Norway" (Lisboa, Portugal: EMCDDA, 2003, p. 49.

  49. "The Netherlands has already conducted a trial with medical co-prescription of heroin and presented its findings in February 2002 (http://www.ccbh.nl; Central Committee on the Treatment of Heroin Addicts, 2002). Clients admitted to the trial received both methadone and heroin. The evaluation showed that the clients in the experimental group experienced considerable health benefits compared with the control group, which received methadone treatment only.
    "Between March 2002 and February 2003, the German cities of Bonn, Cologne, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover, Karlsruhe and Munich launched a heroin-assisted treatment programme in the framework of a scientific randomised controlled trial. A total of 1 120 clients were admitted to the heroin trial, which will be closely monitored and evaluated by the Centre for Interdisciplinary Addiction Research, Hamburg (Zentrum für Interdisziplinäre Suchtforschung), for two study periods each of 12 months (http://www.heroinstudie.de/).
    "In Spain, the autonomous regions of Cataluña and Andalucia are preparing trials of co-prescription of heroin. In Barcelona (Cataluña), the total cohort of the study will be 180 male clients aged 18–45. The heroin prescribed will be for oral administration.
    "In Luxembourg, a decree of 30 January 2002 allows for a trial of heroin prescription to be conducted in the framework of a pilot project managed by the Directorate of Health.
    "In the United Kingdom, heroin is prescribed through general practitioners to an estimated 500 clients."

    Source: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, "Annual Report 2003: The State of the Drugs Problem in the European Union and Norway" (Lisboa, Portugal: EMCDDA, 2003, p. 50.

  50. "Drug users are strongly overrepresented among the prison population compared with the general population. In most studies in the EU, lifetime prevalence of drug use among prisoners is reported to be over 50%; however, it varies widely, from 22% to 86%, between prison populations, detention centres and countries (184). In the EU, the prevalence of regular drug use or dependence prior to imprisonment ranges from 8% to 73%.
    "The majority of drug users reduce or stop their drug use on admission to prison. However, many prisoners continue to use drugs after incarceration, and some start using drugs (and/or injecting drugs) in prison. Available studies show that between 8% and 60% of inmates report having used drugs while in prison, and 10–42% report regular drug use."

    Source: "Annual Report 2005: The State of the Drugs Problem in Europe," European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2005), p. 81.

  51. "In most countries, the availability of substitution maintenance treatment inside prison is not the same as its availability outside prison. Only in Spain is maintenance treatment widespread, with 18 % of all prisoners, or 82 % of problem drug users in prison, receiving this treatment. Luxembourg also has high coverage. Countries reporting considerable increases in the availability of medically assisted treatment include France, mainly with buprenorphine, and Ireland (Reitox national reports). In the Netherlands, medically assisted treatment is available only for short-term detainees who used methadone before imprisonment, whereas in Poland the first programme of methadone treatment with 14 clients was introduced in a remand prison."

    Source: "Annual Report 2005: The State of the Drugs Problem in Europe," European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2005), p. 83.

Acceding and Candidate Countries to the European Union

(Central and Eastern Europe):

  1. Regarding drug use in candidate eastern European countries, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction reported in 2003 that "Current trends are hard to assess, as very recent data are lacking in most countries. There are tentative indications from some studies that in some countries the increase in drug use may have started to stabilise in the early 2000s, especially in major cities, where prevalence levels are usually several times higher than in rural areas (e.g. in Warsaw as well as in cities in Hungary and the Czech Republic). In other countries, data are rare or only limited qualitative or impressionistic information suggesting continuing increases is available. In all countries, the pattern of use is dominated by experimental or occasional use, mainly of cannabis. At the same time, these studies suggest an increased intensity of use by those (the minority) who continue to use. In other reports, diffusion of drug use from cities to smaller towns and rural communities is described. The 2003 ESPAD study should help cast light on trends among 16-year-old schoolchildren, although the results will not be available until 2004 and, as noted above, will not reflect trends in older groups of young people, up to the age of 25 or so, in whom drug use prevalence is likely to be higher."

    Source: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, "Annual Report 2003: The State of the Drugs Problem in the Acceding and Candidate Countries to the European Union" (Lisboa, Portugal: EMCDDA, 2003), pp. 18-19.

  2. "From available data, and subject to the reservations expressed above, it appears that the level of problem drug use in the CEECs [Central and Eastern European Countries] is approaching, and in some cases has surpassed, levels reported for EU Member States. The 2002 report on the drug situation in the candidate CEECs (EMCDDA, 2002a) estimated the proportion of problem drug users among the population aged 15 to 64 to be over 1% in Estonia and Latvia, around 0.5% (the EU average) in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Slovenia, and around 0.25% in Poland (lower than the EU average but based on older data). Rapid increases in new cases of heroin smoking reflected in treatment data over recent years suggest that the estimate for Poland would now be higher, while a new estimate for Slovenia implies a rate of problem drug use of over 1%. No estimates are available for Hungary, Lithuania, Romania or Slovakia."

    Source: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, "Annual Report 2003: The State of the Drugs Problem in the Acceding and Candidate Countries to the European Union" (Lisboa, Portugal: EMCDDA, 2003), p. 22.

  3. Regarding drug use in candidate eastern European countries, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction reported in 2003 that "Substitution treatment, in particular with methadone, has been slow to develop. The first (experimental) methadone programme started in Slovenia in 1990, to be followed by others in the Czech Republic (1992) and Poland (1993). In other countries, the first methadone programmes date from 1995 or later, although by 2001 all countries had introduced at least one. However, except in Slovenia, the number of programmes is limited and coverage remains very low indeed. In Slovenia, a nationwide network provides methadone treatment to perhaps 20% of the estimated total heroin-dependent population. In all other countries, coverage is less than 5%, and in many countries under 1 to 2%. This contrasts with an average coverage of well over 30% in the EU Member States (Figure 2). Other pharmacological treatments are available to a limited extent in some countries, including naltrexone and buprenorphine, but systematic information is not available."

    Source: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, "Annual Report 2003: The State of the Drugs Problem in the Acceding and Candidate Countries to the European Union" (Lisboa, Portugal: EMCDDA, 2003), p. 24.

  4. Regarding drug use in candidate eastern European countries, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction reported in 2003 that "While needle and syringe exchange programmes (SEPs) have been implemented in all countries, only the Czech Republic reaches a substantial proportion (estimated at over 50 %) of drug injectors through a national network of SEPs and low-threshold projects, although in some countries, such as Slovenia, a reasonable level of coverage is achieved in some cities."

    Source: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, "Annual Report 2003: The State of the Drugs Problem in the Acceding and Candidate Countries to the European Union" (Lisboa, Portugal: EMCDDA, 2003), p. 28.

  5. Regarding drug use in candidate eastern European countries, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction reported in 2003 that "However, most 16-year-olds in the CEECs have never used illicit drugs and, among those who have, the vast majority have used only cannabis. On average, lifetime prevalence of illicit drug use by 16-year-olds in the CEECs is 19%, ranging from 12% in Romania to 35% in the Czech Republic. On average, the lifetime prevalence of cannabis use by 16-year-olds in the CEECs is 16%, ranging from 1% of the surveyed population in Romania (although 8% have tried smoking heroin at least once) to 34% in the Czech Republic. In contrast, in almost all of the CEECs, more than 90% of 16-year-olds have tried alcohol at least once, and nearly two thirds admit to having been drunk at least once in their life."

    Source: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, "Annual Report 2003: The State of the Drugs Problem in the Acceding and Candidate Countries to the European Union" (Lisboa, Portugal: EMCDDA, 2003), p. 35.

  6. "Relatively high national rates of HIV prevalence among different subgroups of IDUs tested during 2001 were reported from Estonia (13%) and Latvia (12%). However, in the capital of Estonia, Tallin, the local HIV prevalence rate in 2001 reached the alarmingly high value of 41%. In Latvia and Poland, HIV prevalence among IDUs rose above 5% in 1998 and has remained above 5% since. In Lithuania, HIV prevalence increased to more than 1% in 1997 but remained consistently below 5% until 2001. In contrast, between 1996 and 2001, HIV prevalence among IDUs remained consistently below 1% in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia (European Centre for the Epidemiological Monitoring of AIDS, 2002). In these countries, HIV prevalence rates among IDUs are lower than those in any EU Member State, where levels of infection in different subgroups of IDUs vary from about 1% in the UK (surveys and unlinked anonymous screening) to 34% in Spain (routine diagnostic tests in drug treatment) (EMCDDA, 2002c)."

    Source: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, "Annual Report 2003: The State of the Drugs Problem in the Acceding and Candidate Countries to the European Union" (Lisboa, Portugal: EMCDDA, 2003), p. 48.

  7. "In all CEECs for which information is available, sterile injection equipment can be purchased from pharmacies without a prescription. In 2001, in most CEECs the price of syringes in pharmacies was EUR 0.1. The exceptions were Estonia, where the price was lower (EUR 0.06), and Slovenia and Romania, where it was higher (EUR 0.14 and up to EUR 0.2 respectively). Only in Slovenia and Latvia can syringes also be exchanged or distributed through pharmacies. Not a single CEEC reported the existence of a national programme to support the sale of syringes to IDUs in pharmacies, although Estonia and Latvia reported sporadic efforts to provide at least some training for pharmacists with the aim of raising awareness of the need to prevent drug-related infectious diseases among IDUs. With the exception of Lithuania, no CEEC reported the distribution of prevention information targeted specifically at IDUs through pharmacies. Information on the numbers of syringes sold to IDUs through pharmacies would be very valuable in assessing the overall access of IDUs. The Czech Republic reported that in 2001 approximately one million syringes were sold to IDUs through pharmacies (97.8 syringes per 1 000 total population). National estimates of the proportion of IDUs who purchase sterile injecting equipment through pharmacies are generally not available, except in Hungary, where the figure in 2001 was approximately 30-40%."

    Source: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, "Annual Report 2003: The State of the Drugs Problem in the Acceding and Candidate Countries to the European Union" (Lisboa, Portugal: EMCDDA, 2003), pp. 52-53.

  8. "All CEECs have in place some community-based or outreach harm reduction programmes that provide access to sterile injecting equipment and information on safer drug use and often also promote safer sex, including the distribution of condoms."

    Source: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, "Annual Report 2003: The State of the Drugs Problem in the Acceding and Candidate Countries to the European Union" (Lisboa, Portugal: EMCDDA, 2003), p. 53.

  9. "Substitution treatment is available to IDUs in all CEECs; however, availability varies considerably. In 2001 in Slovenia, 679 IDUs per million total population were on methadone maintenance, but the corresponding rate in Estonia was only 3.6. Total estimated numbers of IDUs receiving methadone substitution treatment per million population in 2001 or the most recent year for which an estimate is available are shown in Figure 15. With the possible exception of Slovenia, access to methadone substitution is clearly insufficient. The next highest rates were in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, but here the numbers of drug users receiving methadone were approximately 10-20 times lower. Like coverage of SEPs, more meaningful rates would take account of the estimated numbers of IDUs."

    Source: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, "Annual Report 2003: The State of the Drugs Problem in the Acceding and Candidate Countries to the European Union" (Lisboa, Portugal: EMCDDA, 2003), p. 54.

  10. "It is interesting to note that a number of acceding and candidate countries have moved towards criminalising possession for personal use, or use itself, over the past 12 years, while the most recent drug law modifications within the European Union countries have addressed the same question in a different way (ELDD, 2002)."

    Source: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, "Annual Report 2003: The State of the Drugs Problem in the Acceding and Candidate Countries to the European Union" (Lisboa, Portugal: EMCDDA, 2003), p. 60.

Find Top Treatment Facilities Near You

  • Detoxification
  • Inpatient / Residential
  • Private / Executive
  • Therapeutic Counseling
  • Effective Results
Call Us Today!

1-877-893-8276

Speak with a Certified Treatment Assesment Counselor who can go over all your treatment options and help you find the right treatment program that fits your needs.

drug-rehabs.org

1-877-893-8276

Discuss Treatment Options!

Our Counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to discuss your treatment needs and help you find the right treatment solution.

Call Us Today!

drug-rehabs.org

1-877-893-8276