PDF (Drugnet Ireland, issue 44)
- Published Version
The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) published its annual report 2012 on the drugs situation in Europe in November.1 According to the report, we may be entering a new era in which heroin will no longer play such a central role in Europe’s drugs problems. The number of new heroin users is declining in several countries, while access to substitution treatment for opioid (mostly heroin) users has risen.
· Cannabis is still Europe’s most commonly consumed illicit drug. One in five adults aged 15–64 have tried cannabis at some point in their lives. Most countries report that cannabis use is stabilising or decreasing. Of the countries which have recorded the highest level of last-year prevalence among young people (aged 15–34) over the past decade, only Italy recorded an increase.
· Around 1% of adults, three-quarters of whom are aged 15–34 use cannabis daily or almost daily. There is increasing awareness that dependency is a possible consequence of cannabis use and the number of individuals seeking help because of their cannabis use is growing in some European countries.
· Cannabis resin seizures declined in 2010 after a steady increase in the previous decade. The amount of cannabis seized continued to decline and the 560 tonnes recorded in 2010 was a new low.
· Europe is now an important producer of cannabis. The overall trend is toward ‘import substitution’, that is, imported cannabis products being replaced by herbal cannabis grown inside Europe’s borders.
· More than 200,000 (48%) clients who entered drug treatment in 2010 reported opioids, mainly heroin, as their primary problem drug.
· In some countries clients cited other opioids as their primary drug more often than heroin. These include fentanyl in Estonia, buprenorphine in Finland, and other opioids in Denmark, Latvia and Austria.
· Analysis of data in 24 countries on opioid users entering treatment for the first time in their lives showed a decrease from 61,000 in 2007 to 46,000 in 2010. The average time lag between first opioid use and first treatment entry is about nine years, so recent decreases in the number of heroin users entering treatment for the first time should at least partly reflect a reduction in heroin incidence that occurred some time ago.
· Most EU countries reported an upward trend in drug-induced deaths between 2003 and 2008, followed by stable numbers in 2009, with provisional data for 2010 pointing to an overall decrease in such deaths.
· Around 36% of those entering treatment for opioid use in 2010 reported injecting. The rate varies greatly between countries, from 7% in the Netherlands to 94% in Latvia, while data from most countries show a steady decrease from 2000. In eastern European countries injection is still the main route of administration.
· While the rate of HIV transmission among drug users continues to decrease, Greece and Romania have reported outbreaks of HIV infection, with a local epidemic among injectors in Athens.
· The EMCDDA estimates that about 1,830 people died of HIV/AIDS attributable to drug use in the EU in 2009, with almost 90% of these deaths occurring in Spain, France, Italy and Portugal.
· An estimated 696,000 opioid users were in receipt of substitution treatment in 2011, the most common type of treatment for opioid dependence in Europe, with medium term trends showing a continuous increase since 2003. About half of all problem opioid users in Europe have access to substitution treatment, but some countries have considerably lower coverage levels: Greece (28%), Lithuania (17%), Slovakia (12%), Poland (8%) and Latvia (2%).
· Latest figures for seizures and drug-law offences point to an overall decrease in heroin supply. Around 55, 000 seizures resulted in the interception of 19 tonnes of heroin in 2010, compared with 56,000 seizures and 24 tonnes in 2009.
· With the exception of Ireland, where the situation has stabilised, the countries most affected by cocaine use among young adults (aged 15–34) reported a decline in last-year use of this drug by this age group in the last country survey.
· The countries reporting the highest last-month prevalence among young people were Spain, the UK, Cyprus and Italy.
· Some countries reported that the number of cocaine-related hospital emergencies was three times higher in recent years than it had been at the end of the 1990s.· The number of cocaine seizures fell slightly to around 88,000 in 2010 from 100,000 in 2008.
|Issue Title:||Issue 44, Winter 2012|
|Page Range:||pp. 4-5|
|Publisher:||Health Research Board|
|Volume:||Issue 44, Winter 2012|
|Accession Number:||HRB (Electronic Only)|
|Subjects:||MM-MO Crime and law > Justice system > Correctional system and facility > Prison|
J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Health care programme or facility > Prison-based health service
B Drugs and alcohol substances > Cocaine
B Drugs and alcohol substances > Cannabis / Marijuana
VA Geographic area > Europe
B Drugs and alcohol substances > CNS stimulants
A Drugs and alcohol use, abuse, and dependence > Prevalence of drugs and alcohol use
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