Drugs are doing funny things in Europe, with the use of some dropping off and of others on the rise. The 2018 European Drug Report examines trends across Europe and within Portugal, with some not-so-surprising results.
According to the study by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), the most commonly used drug in Portugal is cannabis, with 8% of young adults (15-34 years) reporting having used it in the last year. This is compared to just 0.3% for cocaine and 0.2% for MDMA. The study also found a discrepancy in gender, with 10.9% of males reporting using cannabis, compared with 5% of females.
This is fitting with wider European trends, where cannabis is also the most used drug. According to the report, due to legislation in other countries, there is now a greater number, and more varied range, of cannabis products. These are often for therapeutic rather than recreational use, and those paying attention will know that Portugal is on track to see more of these in the near future.
The total amount of cannabis seized in Portugal isn’t that high when compared with other European countries. Anybody who has spent time in Lisbon won’t be shocked that while the amount of “herb” — read weed — didn’t feature in the top ten countries for seizures, resin did!
Whilst cannabis resin took the top spot for drug seizures by quantity in Portugal, cocaine came in second place, beating out cannabis herb and MDMA. It may be that those young adults weren’t being so honest earlier! On the other hand, these seizures could have been destined for other countries — namely Spain and the UK — as while the Iberian peninsula is becoming less popular, it is still the main route for cocaine into Europe.
As cocaine was the most commonly seized stimulant in Portugal, it is worth noting the Europe-wide trend of cocaine remaining stable in price but increasing in strength, according to the report.
Overdose deaths and cases of HIV have continued to fall since their height in the early 2000s. The stats in this latest report continue to support Portugal’s drug policies and hold no big surprises for the types or amounts of drugs consumed.
One interesting fact is that the EMCDDA is actually based in Lisbon. In fact, it is literally in Cais do Sodré! You have to wonder why they don’t step out of their office for a couple of minutes and start swabbing the fake drug dealers. Now that is a report I would like to see.