Drugs are back in the EU

BRUSSELS – Drug trafficking and use are returning to pre-pandemic levels across the European Union, according to the latest report released Tuesday by the bloc’s drug agency.

As COVID-19 restrictions and increased border controls eased on the continent, the EMCDDA said medicines are available in the region in large quantities and in some cases above pre-pandemic levels.

Hundreds of drug production labs are being shut down, and new psychoactive substances are popping up on the block every week. In 2021, 52 new drugs were reported for the first time, the authority said.

“For me, the take-home message that stands out from our analysis of drug trends in 2022 can be summed up as, ‘Everywhere. All. Everyone,'” said the agency’s director, Alexis Goosdeel.

Around 83.4 million people aged 15 to 64 in the EU, or 29% of this population, are estimated to have ever used an illicit drug, with more men than women reporting use.


The agency said cannabis remains the most popular substance, with over 22 million people reporting their use in 2021, ahead of cocaine, MDMA and amphetamines. About 1 million Europeans used heroin or another illicit opioid. In 2020, the most recent year for which this figure was presented, there were an estimated 5,800 overdose deaths in the EU.

The report pointed to an increased use of social media applications and encrypted messaging services to gain access to products during the pandemic, a model likely to continue.

The agency said last month that record amounts of cocaine are confiscated in Europe, while the manufacture of the drug now takes place within the EU.

While the agency said it was too early to assess the impact of the Taliban’s return to power on heroin trafficking in Afghanistan, the agency noted it could lead to a spike. According to the report, poppy cultivation continues in the country despite a ban on production and sales.


“The country’s current financial problems could make drug revenue a more important source of income,” the report said.

The report also looked at the war in Ukraine, noting that the conflict could have consequences for smuggling routes.

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https://www.local10.com/news/world/2022/06/14/everywhere-everything-everyone-drugs-are-back-in-the-eu/ Drugs are back in the EU

Sarah Y. Kim

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