The EMCDDA Drug Report shows that, over the last years, drug consumption trends have shifted across most of the EU. Polydrug consumption is now common. Cannabis has become the most commonly used – five times the use of other drugs. Heroin and other opioids are still the most harmful statistically, although their prevalence is effectively not very high. Drug consumption is higher among the male population, the remarkable difference consisting in more intensive or regular patterns of use.
Among young and very young adults (15-34), 19.1 million (16%) used drugs in the last year. 17.5 million used cannabis. The prevalence varied greatly from country to country, where in Hungary the percentage was 3.5 and in France 21.8. In the case of very young adults (15-24), 18% used the drug last year.
In the EU, the highest consumption of cannabis was reported in France, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Denmark, and the Netherlands. However, in trends, Romania, Bulgaria, Finland, and Ireland reported a sharp increase in consumption, with France and Spain mostly stabilizing and UK showing a decrease.
Cocaine is the most frequent stimulant drug, used mostly in the South and West of Europe. It has also been on the rise in terms of consumption. Approximately 18 million adults aged 15-64 have tried cocaine at least once in their lives. Around 2.6 million have done so in the last year. France, Spain, Ireland, the UK, and the Netherlands are again among the leading consumer countries, with Eastern countries (Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Austria, and others) reporting consumption between 0 and 0.5% of the reference population.
Among study respondents who reported using cocaine (according to the European Web Survey on Drugs), not one single user from Czechia reported using the drug more than 50 days, while in Belgium, France, Italy, and Luxembourg over 10% of the respondents estimated their consumption to extend over a period of 50 days in the last year. Similarly, consumption in grams is different between countries – Austria, France, and Belgium reporting an average of 1.3 grams/day of use and Cyprus reporting 3.5.
As a result of these trends the European Drug of Abuse detection market has seen a significant growth, with drug testing in workplaces being one of the leading factors. DOA analyzers for prisons and customs are becoming a common thing, used to protect both users and the general population.