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Numbers You Didn’t Know about Drug Consumption in Europe

According to the EMCDDA Drug Report, approximately 29% of adults aged 15-64 have tried illicit drugs. The higher incidence is found in males (57.8 mil), while women account for 38.3 million. The most common drug is cannabis (approximately 55 million men and 36 million women), while a lifetime use of cocaine was reported in 12 million men and almost 6 million women. The statistics are also widely different between countries, where only 4% of adults in Malta, but as high as 45% of adults in France reported a lifetime use of cannabis.

Two widely spread stimulants are amphetamine and its close relative, methamphetamine. 12.4 million 15-64 year old adults in Europe have tried amphetamines. In the young adult population (aged 15-34) 1.3 million used the drug in the last year. Bulgaria, Finland, Croatia, and Germany have reported percentages of over 1.5, while Italy, Portugal, Romania, and Poland are situated at 0-0.5% of the population.

Ketamine was estimated in 2017 at 0.6% among young adults (15-34) in Denmark and 1.7% in the UK. Similar numbers were reported for PSD or mushrooms - less than 1% in most countries, except for Finland and the Netherlands with 1.9 and 1.6%, respectively, for mushrooms, and 1.3% in Finland again, for LSD.

Heroin and other opioids, more specifically synthetic ones like methadone, buprenorphine, and fentanyl, are much less used, but so much more dangerous at the same time. Since Europe has seen several waves of heroin addictions starting with the `70s in Western Europe and the `90s in Central and Eastern Europe, a cohort of aging opioid users has been identified.

It is worth mentioning here that most European countries also employ drug testing and drug screening with the help of analyzer devices, making the identification and correlation of the statistical numbers easier.

In the adult population aged 15-64, 0.4% of the total European population is estimated to be high-risk opioid users. This means approximately 1.3 million individuals. Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and the UK account approximately 77% of the entire number of high-risk opioid users. The use is statistically increasing in Ireland and Czechia and significantly decreasing in Greece, Malta, Slovenia, and Spain. Use of opioids is also reportedly, currently the main reason for entering specialized drug treatments – 171000 patients, i.e. 35% of all those entering treatment in Europe. In Estonia, the main opioid cited was fentanyl, while in Finland this was buprenorphine. By gender, 80% of those entering drug treatment were men, with only 20% being women.

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