According to the latest European Drug Report, the amount of cocaine and synthetic drugs being seized in the EU has increased, and in 2017 it hit a record high.
The authors warn that around 96 million European adults have used illegal drugs and that, overall, the number of drugs being imported is steadily rising.
Heroin use was reported as being used by an increasing number of people. It’s estimated that 5.4 tonnes of the substance was seized across the EU in 2017 and a further 17 tonnes was seized at the border in Turkey.
In addition to this, substances like MDMA are appearing and being seized more often in the EU, as well as other drugs, including cannabis.
It’s believed that the legalisation of cannabis in some parts of the world has driven the market for its use in Europe, with the number of people reporting using it in some form having increased in the last few years.
There are manufacturers now producing alternative cannabis products, for example, cannabis or THC liquids for e-cigarettes and edible products. Some of these products have stronger effects than traditional cannabis as they are more concentrated.
However, it’s cocaine that’s seen the sharpest increase. In 2017, the highest number of tonnes of cocaine on record was seized in Europe, at over 140 tonnes. This is twice as much as the previous year.
Furthermore, a lot of the cocaine that’s being seized is of purer quality than seen in previous years, which can lead to an increased risk of addiction or dependence.
The drug agency went on to note that social media, the internet, and other social factors are all contributing to the higher levels of drug use. For example, the “darknet” allows people to trade drugs online, or have them delivered by a “drug courier”.
There is also a link between drug use and mental health conditions, like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia – the European Union has some of the highest rates of mental health issues in the world.
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