Facts and Figures from the 2016 European Drug Report
On May 31, the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) released their 2016 Report on the state of Drugs in the European Union.
The report details the trends and developments in the uses and prevalence of drugs, including cannabis, in specific countries around Europe.
In the comprehensive report, the EMCDDA recognise how Europe “faces a more complex drug problem, in which stimulants, new psychoactive substances, misused medicines and problematic cannabis use all play a greater part.”
Facts and figures on cannabis use, cannabis seizures and general trends in the illegal cannabis use were all analysed in the report.
General Use in Europe
Cannabis was estimated to account for the largest share value of Europe’s illicit drug market as well as being the most prevalently used drug in the EU.
The image above shows that 22.1 million or 6.6% of European Adults (15-64) surveyed used cannabis in 2015, while 83.2 million or 24.8% of European Adults (15-64) surveyed used cannabis in their lifetime. The use of cannabis in 2014 significantly increased in a younger age bracket, with 16.6 million or 13.3% of Young Adults (15-34) having used the drug over the past 12 months.
More than 1 million seizures of illicit drugs were reported in 2014, mostly small quantities for personal use. The figure below demonstrates how cannabis has an overwhelmingly significant share of the seizure percentage. 78% of all seizures in Europe were of cannabis, with herbal cannabis accounting for 50% of all drug seizures.
The report also stated the 838 tonnes of cannabis was seized last year in Europe, with potency and price of the seized material having increased over the last 12 months. The figure below shows the frequency of cannabis seizures by European nation. Spain and the United Kingdom are shown to have significantly more cannabis seizures than any other country, with 250,000 in Spain and 161,000 in the United Kingdom, compared to 37,000 in Germany and 17,000 in Sweden for example.
The prevalence of seizures in Spain are attributed to its proximity to Morocco, where the majority of cannabis resin enters Europe. However, the explanation for cannabis seizures in the United Kingdom can only be attributed to the severity of the law enforcement on cannabis.
Another interesting statistic reported that there were 200 seizures of cannabis oil in Europe in 2014.
Cannabis Use Trends
16.6 million young European adults were estimated to have used cannabis in 2014, with a 2:1 ratio of male to female users.
The map below shows the percentage of young adults that used cannabis in 2014 by country. The figure shows that France, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Denmark, Czech Republic, Estonia and Finland had the highest prevalence of use in young adults, with over 12% having consumed cannabis in some form.
The most recent survey results show that countries have varying paths of prevalence of use over the last 12 months. Countries with a fairly high-prevalence use, including Spain, the United Kingdom and Germany have seen a decline in prevalence since the turn of the century.
However, other European countries have reported a gradual increase in cannabis use since the turn of the century, including Czech Republic, France, Italy, Bulgaria and Sweden. Most notably, Finland have seen a consistent rise in cannabis use every year since 2004.
Finally, the table below shows the latest statistics on cannabis use for every country with available information in Europe.
Interestingly, France have the highest percentage of Adult Population who have used cannabis in their lifetime at 40.9%, followed by Denmark (35.6%), Italy (31.9%), Spain (30.4%) and the United Kingdom (29.2%).
You can view the European Drug Report 2016 in full by visiting our Research Library here.
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