The recent death incident at Sunset Music Festival, allegedly caused by drugs, has heightened the drug stigma associated with dance and music gatherings though the partygoers are not the only ones to use substances like ecstasy.
The five key takeaways from the European Drug Report 2016 published by the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), a decentralized agency of European Union (EU) that summarizes trends and developments related to drugs regarding use, policy and public health across member states are listed below:
Ecstasy is staging a strong comeback
Ecstasy is getting to be popular once again. The use of ecstasy has been declining till recently after peaking up in the mid-2000s.
As many as 2.1 million youngsters in the age group of 15 to 34 years said that they used ecstasy last year, which is 300,000 more than what was reported in 2015.
Ecstasy was being used more in house parties and bars in many countries; the substance transcended the dancing and drinking environment.
According to researchers, ecstasy is being used more and stronger than before, and it indicates its producers’ strategy to improve people’s perception about the drug as ecstasy use had declined over the years because of poor quality and adulteration.
Reports published in the past years also suggested that a many of the ecstasy tablets sold in Europe either had MDMA in low amounts or none at all.
One out of four Europeans has used illegal substances
More than 88 million Europeans in the age group of 15 to 64 years have used drugs such as ecstasy sometime during their lives.
The year before, the estimated users were 78.9 million. In this year’s report, the number of male and female users is 54.3 million and 34.8 million, respectively.
Most popular drug, also the most-seized substance, is weed
Out of the one million drug seizures that are reported every year, most of the seized quantities are small, and cannabis (not ecstasy) accounts for over three-fourth of these seizures in the continent of Europe, mainly because of its popularity.
Cocaine is more popular in the UK
Among the people surveyed in the UK, the most popular stimulant was cocaine as 3.6 adults in the age group of 15 to 34 years used this drug in the year before.
This amounts to a 50 percent increase from the estimated 2.4 million users in the previous report.
Authorities are catching up with technological developments
The shutdown of the Silk Road, the first online seller of drugs, diverted the attention of the law enforcement authorities to darknet markets.
Providers of such services often implement high-tech strategies so as to ensure that all transactions remain virtually untraceable and anonymous.
Though, the darknet markets account for only a small part of the total drug trade, according to the report, the realization that technological development is being made use of for drug trade is troubling.
.Further, the potential for expansion of online drug trade continues to exist.
Ultimately, the report highlights the fact that the drug problem faced by Europe is becoming increasingly more complex and stimulants, misused medicines, new psychoactive substances, and cannabis have a greater part to play.
Also, the report reminds that some of the past problems continue to remain even though the policy and practice challenges posed by them are a little different.
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