According to the European Drug Report 2016, the use of illegal substances is considerably more widespread in Estonia than in Latvia and Lithuania, and above the European Union average when it comes to cannabis, amphetamines, and ecstasy.
The analysis, based predominantly on data for 2014, shows that more than a quarter of EU citizens aged 15 to 64, some 88 million people in all, have used narcotics. Cannabis tops the list, but many have used cocaine, amphetamines, ecstasy, and other substances as well. Across the union, more than 13% of people have had experience with cannabis. The highest rates were recorded in the Czech Republic and France, where more than 20% of young people (15-34 years old) admitted to having used cannabis in the last 12 months. Estonia came in after Finland with 13.6%. By comparison, the corresponding rates for Latvia and Lithuania are 7.3% and 5.1% respectively.
In terms of cocaine use, Estonia with 1.3% ranks below the EU average, but still far above its Baltic neighbors, where only 0.3% have used cocaine.
Around 1% of young adults in the EU have used amphetamine, and 1.7% ecstasy in the last 12 months. The consumption of amphetamine was the highest in the Netherlands at 2.9%. Next came Estonia, with 2.5%, Finland with 2.4%, and the Czech Republic with 2.3%. By contrast, the percentage was 0.5% in Lithuania and 0.6% in Latvia.
The report pointed at a revival of ecstasy as the drug of choice for young people in Europe. Its use in Estonia was on par with France, at 2.3%. In Latvia 0.8% and in Lithuania 0.3% of young people have used ecstasy.
Heroin and other opioids are the main reason for overdose deaths. While heroin remains the most commonly used opioid in Europe, many states have reason to worry about the increasing use of synthetic opioids such as buprenorphine, methadone, fentanyl, and tramadol. The levels of use differ between countries, but the proportion of opioid users has been on the decline in most countries over the past decade.
The report analyzing the trends and developments of drug use in Europe was compiled by the Lisbon-based European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction.
Editor: Editor: Dario Cavegn