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European Drug Report 2016: Trends and Developments

The analysis presented here describes a European drug market that remains resilient, with some indicators for cannabis and stimulant drugs, in particular, now trending upwards. Overall, supply data suggest that the purity or potency of most illicit substances is high or increasing. The majority of recent survey data on prevalence also show modest increases in the estimated use of the more commonly consumed drugs. The drug marketplace is also more complex, with new substances available to consumers alongside more established drugs, signals that medicines are becoming more important, and with polydrug use patterns the norm among those experiencing drug problems. Interdiction efforts are challenged by the fact that production of cannabis, synthetic drugs and even some opioids and new psychoactive substances now takes place within Europe, near to consumer markets. Taken together this new analysis highlights the need for Europe’s drug policy agenda to embrace a broader and more complicated set of policy issues than has historically been the case.