European Drug Report 2015

The EMCDDA’s European Drug Report (EDR), 2015 was recently launched; it is the 20th annual analysis of Europe’s drug problem.

Headline points from report include:


  • Number of new people seeking treatment for heroin has more than halved since 2007 (59,000 to 23,000)
  • Heroin injection is in decline too, as well as new HIV diagnoses among people who inject drugs (PWID).
  • Over half of Europe’s opioid users are now in substitution treatment
  • The challenge of providing a response remains, taking into account that heroin dependence is for many a chronic condition, there is a considerably high level of poly drug use among this group, mortality levels are high, and there is a need for services to adapt to the needs of ageing users
  • More than 6 000 overdose deaths were reported in the EU during 2013.
  • Widespread responses to this problem are now being implemented including overdose training for drug users and professionals, take-home naloxone programmes and, in some countries, the use of supervised drug consumption rooms.
  • Estimates of HIV diagnoses is the lowest for a decade
  • There is a continued decline since 2009 in the EU seizures of heroin
  • There are concerns about new innovations in supply development through the establishment of illegal heroin processing laboratories in Europe



  • Cannabis remains Europe’s most widely consumed illicit drug, with just under 20 (19.3) million adults (15–64 years) using it in the last year. Around 1% of European adults are daily users.
  • The numbers being treated for cannabis problems are increasing, with over 60,000 people entering treatment for cannabis problems for the first time in 2013.
  • Currently, the drug accounts for 80 % of all drug seizures, while cannabis use or possession for personal use accounts for 63 % of Europe’s 1.25 million drug law offences
  • Sentencing practices for cannabis-related supply offences show considerable diversity between countries, with penalties for a first-time supply offence for one kilo of the drug ranging from 1 to 10 years in prison.



  • Cocaine remains Europe’s most commonly used stimulant ― used by around 2.3 million young adults in the last year.
  • An estimated 1.8 million used ecstasy and 1.3 million used amphetamines.
  • The injection of methamphetamine and synthetic cathinones (such as mephedrone or MDPV), are worrying localised problems in groups of high-risk drug users in some countries.


 New psychoactive substances

  • Around two new psychoactive substances detected every week in the EU, with over 450 new substances currently being monitored: over four times more than four years ago.
  • In 2014 the Early Warning System (EWS) received reports of 101 new substances, including 31 synthetic cathinones and 30 synthetic cannabinoids.
  • 35, 000 seizures of NPS reported in 2013.
  • The results from the Flash Eurobarometer survey of over 13 000 young Europeans (15–24) report that overall 8 % of young people have tried a so-called ‘legal high’ at some point in their life.



 © DLR - DATF, 2016   C/O Southside Partnership, Main st., Blackrock, Co. Dublin Tel: 01-7060125 / 087-6494922