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Home > Further insights into aspects of the EU illicit drugs market: summaries and key findings.

Trautmann, Franz and Kilmer, Beau and Turnbull, Paul J (2013) Further insights into aspects of the EU illicit drugs market: summaries and key findings. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

PDF (Further insights into aspects of the EU illicit drug market) - Published Version

The economic crisis is expected to have a major impact on the drugs market, for example through an increase of demand for illicit drugs, according to the findings of a study published today by the European Commission. This study reveals that more young people are expected to sell or even produce drugs – especially home grown cannabis – to make money. But the economic crisis is also expected to lead to cuts in budgets devoted to drug policy, in particular for treatment and harm reduction measures.

This study also offers insights into the impact of policies targeting drug use or drug supply and into the operations of the EU's illicit drugs market, revealing that the internet is becoming more and more important for distributing drugs. It also provides a detailed analysis of the size of the market for certain illicit drugs and evaluates the profit that they generate. It estimates the size of the EU cannabis market, the drug most used by Europeans, at between €7 billion to €10 billion for 2010. Intensive users are a small fraction of cannabis users (between 5% and 25%, depending on the country), but are responsible for the bulk (between 55% and 77%) of the total amount of cannabis consumed annually. It also confirms that enforcing laws against the production and distribution of cannabis dramatically increases the price of this drug. This is because producers and traffickers require compensation for their risk of arrest, incarceration, seizure, and violent injury as well as for the costs associated with the need to operate covertly.

The research focussed on the following four drugs: cannabis, cocaine, heroin and Amphetamine Type Stimulants (ATS). In some Member States other drugs might be important, but they either contribute little to the total EU market for illicit drugs or they are not the subject of a lot of explicit policy making.

1. General Introduction 9
1.1 Approach
1.2 Structure of the study
2. Surveys on user types, availability and consumption estimates 15
2.1 Key findings
2.2 Summary
3. The impact of opioid substitution treatment (OST) on the European heroin market 23
3.1 Key findings
3.2 Summary
4. Estimating the size of the EU cannabis market 27
4.1 Key findings
4.2 Summary
5. Managing potential conflict in illegal markets 31
5.1 Key findings
5.2 Summary
6. Insights about cannabis production and distribution costs in the EU 33
6.1 Key findings
6.2 Summary
7. The impact of changes in the Netherlands coffee shop policies on local buyers and markets 37
7.1 Key findings
7.2 Summary
8. Key trends of the illicit drugs market and drug policy in the EU 41
8.1 Key findings
8.2 Summary

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