The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) has recently released the findings of their annual report that reviews and records drug data across the European continent. The published European Drug Report (2017) has highlighted some worrying trends for the continent, in particular highlighting that drug related deaths have risen for the third year running.
Overdose deaths on the rise, the availability of new psychoactive substances and a growing threat from highly potent synthetic opioids are the key issues highlighted.
The report has also revealed that the UK has the highest amount of drug related deaths in Europe, 1 in 3 drug overdoses occur in the UK which equates to 31% of the overall European total in 2017. Germany has the second highest with 15% but this is quite a significant gap from the UK figure.
The study shows a worrying trend in the UK. The office for national statistics has also noted that deaths involving cocaine and fentanyl continued to rise while deaths related to new psychoactive substances halved in 2017.
A positive to be taken from the report is that new drugs emerging on the market have slowed down however the general availability remains high.
The report states that highly potent synthetic opioids are a growing threat within the European states. These opioids mimic the effects of heroin and morphine and have an ever increasing presence on the market with 25 new synthetic opioids detected in Europe between 2009 and 2016.
Summarising the report, Dimitris Avramopoulos, European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, commented:
“The impact of the drugs problem continues to be a significant challenge for European societies. Over 93 million Europeans have tried an illicit drug in their lives and overdose deaths continue to rise for the third year in a row. I am especially concerned that young people are exposed to many new and dangerous drugs. Already 25 highly potent synthetic opioids were detected in Europe between 2009 and 2016, of which only small volumes are needed to produce many thousands of doses, thus posing a growing health threat.”
You can read the European Drug Report 2017 in full here.
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Office for National Statistics:
European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA)