[autom.vertaling] De consumptie van de cocaïne en van de cannabis omhoog, maar het heroïnegebruik dalen (en)
Europees burgerschap - 24-11-2005 - 04:11
There are estimated to be between 1.2 and 2.1 million heavy drug users in the enlarged EU today, MEPs were told this week by the EU's Lisbon-based drugs agency. Consumption of cocaine and cannabis has increased but the number of heroin users in Europe has fallen and the prevalence of AIDS among drug injectors remains low in most Member States.
These facts come from the 2005 annual report of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), which was presented to Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee on Wednesday. The report tracks in detail the key trends in drug use throughout Europe.
A significant change from drug consumption in the past is the fact that drug users tend to mix a number of different drugs. The director of the EMCDDA Wolfgang Götz stressed that " the key problem today in Europe is the repeated multiple use of various substances, including alcohol and tobacco. Drug deaths often reveal the presence of more than one substance ". The report confirms that drug use in Europe remains largely a phenomenon of the young, particularly young men between 14 and 34 years, living in urban areas. Looking at the figures, Giusto Catania (GUE/NGL, IT) replied that " everyone seems to be a multi consumer, me too. I sometimes drink a glass of wine and smoke a cigarette afterwards. Not all the drugs are equal, we need to distinguish carefully the effects that different drugs can have ". She was the only Member to speak clearly in favour of the decriminalisation of certain drugs.
Cocaine, the drug of choice for 9 million Europeans
There is evidence of growing abuse of cannabis and ecstasy among the young, Mr Götz explained, but of all the different drugs studied in the report, the use of cocaine remains one of the biggest concerns. Imports and use of cocaine have heavily increased in the past year and there is growing evidence of related health problems in the EU. " It is estimated that around 9 million Europeans (3% of all adults) have ever used cocaine and over 3 million are likely to have tried the drug over the last year ", said the EMCDDA director. He added that Spain and the UK report the highest levels of cocaine use, with over 4% of young adults having used it in the last year, exceeding levels of recent ecstasy and amphetamine use.
Carel Edwards (head of Anti-Drugs Policy unit, European Commission) said " there are two ways of dealing with the drugs problem: launching a war against drugs, using law enforcement and prison for drug dealers, or a more balance approached which does not go only against trafficking but also tries to reduce the use of drugs in our society ". Frederika Brepoels (EPP-ED, BE) claimed that bench-marking and the share of best practices of governments are a useful tool to reduce drug consumption. " We also need a good early warning system to share information on the appearance of new synthetic substances " she said. Giusto Catania asked Member States not to be " hypocritical " and to fight not only to reduce consumption but also to reduce supplies from third countries.
Fewer cases of AIDS
The good news came from an analysis of the patterns of heroin use and its related effects. The number of new heroin users in Europe has fallen, having peaked in most countries in the early 90s. HIV infection among injection drug users remains low. " Heterosexual contacts have now overtaken injecting drug use as the most common rout of new AIDS cases ", says the 2005 annual report.
Across the EU, drug-related deaths remain at historically high levels, yet there are signs that these may already have peaked. " The total number of reported drug-related deaths from the EU15 and Norway fell from over 8000 cases in 2001 to around 7000 cases in 2002, representing a 15% decrease ", Mr Götz added.
Edith Mastenbroek (PES, NL) said that a good drug policy must be based on facts and not on political ideas and asked the EMCDDA director to give further details on the real effects of cannabis when used for health purposes. She also wondered if the approach taken by some Member States such as the Netherlands, of providing heavy drug addicts with heroin under medical supervision, would help in their rehabilitation. " For many problem drug users, prison can be a particularly detrimental environment and many Member States have now adopted laws outlining alternative treatments. Over half a million Europeans now receive substitution treatment ", Mr Götz concluded.