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In Europe, drugs are increasingly dangerous and fatal

Ⓒ AFP/Archives – MARTIN BUREAU – | Drug overdoses are increasingly fatal in Europe, where new and numerous “dangerous” substances are circulating for health, the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) said in its annual report published on Tuesday.

Drug overdoses are increasingly fatal in Europe, where new and numerous “dangerous” substances are circulating for health, the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) said in its annual report published on Tuesday.

Drugs “remain a major challenge for European societies,” said the report, noting that “more than 93 million Europeans”, more than a quarter of people aged 15 to 64, “have already used illicit drugs “.

Cannabis remains by far the most popular drug in Europe, in the face of cocaine, MDMA (active principle of ecstasy) and amphetamines (amphetamine and methamphetamine).

The report, based on data collected in 2015 and 2016, highlights in the first place the “serious” and “worrying” increase in the number of overdose deaths in the 28 EU states and Turkey and Norway (8,441 Deaths in 2015, + 6% compared to 2014), “mainly related to heroin and other opiates” (opium derivatives).

The EMCDDA notes that in countries such as France, Denmark, Ireland and Croatia, overdoses of opiates used in substitution treatment (methadone in particular) kill more than heroin.

Another major concern of the EMCDDA is that “new psychoactive substances” (drugs or synthetic products) which “still represent a considerable challenge to public health in Europe”, especially since these products are rapidly being “Increasingly clandestine”, in particular “in online or illicit markets”.

The EMCDDA is particularly concerned about the dangers of new synthetic opioids with high active ingredient content, which mimic the effects of heroin and morphine in Europe and North America. While these substances remain a minority in the drug market, they are increasingly involved in “poisoning, fatal or not.”

Among these substances are fentanyls, very powerful sedatives that cause overdoses every year in tens of thousands, especially in North America. According to the report, “more than 50 deaths associated with these substances” have already been reported in Europe.

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