Powerful new opioids, overdose deaths worry European Union drug agency

Powerful new opioids, overdose deaths worry European Union drug agency”

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) has warned against increase in deaths arising from overdose of illicit drugs in Europe for the third consecutive year. The report said that the figures could be explained by under-reporting in some states and that the size of Britain's and Germany's at-risk population was a factor.

The European drug agency's latest available data on overdose deaths shows they rose from 7,950 in 2014 and 7,345 in 2013.

Over three-quarters of the victims are men.

The next most commonly used drug among young adults is MDMA, with 4 per cent of 15-34-year-olds saying they have taken it in the last year compared to one per cent of the same age group saying they had taken it in 2011.

The agency warned that drug-related deaths in Europe could be much higher due to "systematic under-reporting in some countries" and delays in reporting.

Dimitris Avramopoulos, European commissioner for migration, home affairs and citizenship, said that the impact of drug use continued to be a "significant challenge for European societies".

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Though at slower rate than in previous years, the drugs were hitting the market at roughly the rate of one per week with the agency now monitoring a total 620 new psychoactive substances.

In 2016 alone, the agency identified more than 66 never encountered psychoactive substances (NPS), majority synthetic versions of cannabis or of stimulants such as amphetamines or cocaine.

"In both Europe and North America, the recent emergence of highly potent new synthetic opioids, mostly fentanyl derivatives, is causing considerable concern", the report said.

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).

Estimates of 2015 drug use among young adults (15-34 years) in IrelandHey there, while you're here.

Last month cannabis use by school students in Europe was at eight percent, around half the level reported in the USA at 15 percent.

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