Drug overdoses are becoming increasingly fatal in Europe, where new and numerous “dangerous” substances are being circulated, the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) said in its annual report published on Tuesday. Illicit drug use “remains a major challenge for European societies”, the report said, noting that “more than 93 million Europeans”, i.e. more than a quarter of people aged 15 to 64, have consumed drugs.”
Cannabis remains by far the most popular drug in Europe, in the face of cocaine, MDMA (active principle of ecstasy) and amphetamines (amphetamine and methamphetamine).
The report, based on data collected in 2015 and 2016, highlights the “serious” and “worrying” increase in the number of overdose deaths in the 28 EU states as well as Turkey and Norway (8,441 Deaths in 2015, +6% compared to 2014), “mainly related to heroin and other opiates” (opium derivatives).
The EMCDDA notes that in countries such as France, Denmark, Ireland and Croatia, overdoses of opiates used in substitution treatment (methadone in particular) kill more than heroin.
Another major concern of the EMCDDA is that “new psychoactive substances” (drugs or synthetic products) “still represent a considerable challenge to public health in Europe”, especially since these products are rapidly becoming “more and more clandestine”, especially “in online or illicit markets”.
The Brussels Times