Europe’s drug supply and use back to pre-pandemic levels, report says

Europe’s drug supply and use back to pre-pandemic levels, report says
Written by madishthestylebar

The supply and consumption of drugs, slightly slowed down in 2020 by the health crisis, returned in 2021 to their – high – pre-pandemic level, according to the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) in its annual report , published Tuesday, June 14.

The analysis of wastewater from 75 cities in 25 countries (23 from the European Union, Turkey and Norway) revealed “an overall increase in detections” cannabis, cocaine, amphetamines and methamphetamines. Ecstasy (and its active ingredient, MDMA) is the only drug “for which the residues have decreased in the majority of the cities studied”perhaps because nightclubs in many countries were still closed in the spring of 2021 when this large study was carried out.

Cannabis remains by far the most widely used substance, “more than 22 million European adults having declared” having taken it in 2021, according to the report. This is followed by cocaine, with 3.5 million declared users; MDMA-ecstasy, with 2.6 million, and amphetamines and its 2 million users.

See our large format: How does cannabis resin get into consumers’ pockets?

Reporting of 52 new drugs

The drug supply, she, “remains high across the EU” and even exceeds “pre-pandemic levels” for cocaine: a “record volume of 213 tonnes” was seized in the EU in 2020, the year of the latest available data even though it was marked by travel restrictions and closures of festive places linked to Covid. Two hundred and two tons were seized in 2019. “This indicator and others suggest that at present there is no indication that the upward trend in the availability of this drug, observed in recent years, has changed”estimates the Observatory.

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In a general way, “Classic drugs have never been more accessible and new high-dose substances continue to appear”the report is alarmed. “Almost anything with psychoactive potential today is likely to appear on the market”, develops the Observatory. In 2021, fifty-two new drugs have “first reported”whose “15 new synthetic cannabinoids”.

These molecules produced in the laboratory, sometimes very highly dosed and toxic, imitate the hovering effect of THC (the psychotropic substance of cannabis) and are often sprayed on grass, sometimes without the knowledge of consumers. The 2020 report was already alarmed by the growth of these products.

That of this year is also worried about the increase in “synthetic cathinones” (6 new detected), kinds of mixture between cocaine, MDMA-ecstasy and amphetamines. The two most common are the “3-MMC” and the “3-CMC”which can be sold legally and are diverted for recreational purposes.

The Netherlands found that the number of poisonings suspected of involving 3-MMC rose from 10 in 2018 to 64 in 2020, the report notes. The European Commission proposed in mid-March their control.

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The World with AFP

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