Russell Webster

Russell Webster

Criminal Justice & substance misuse expert and author of this blog.

A visual picture of drug use in Europe 2018

A series of striking infographics show the latest drug trends in Europe and the surprising level of difference between countries.

EMCDDA 2018 Drug Report

Last week (7 June 2018), the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) published its annual report on drugs in Europe. I’ve already covered the UK specific findings; this post looks at some of the main trends across the continent by way of a series of data visualisations.


The visualisation below reminds us that although cannabis is by far the most popular club, the numbers using cocaine, MDMA, amphetamines and opioids remain substantial:

Overdose deaths

The graphic below  shows trends in overdose deaths in the eight countries with the worst rates, including the UK where drug-related deaths have been rising since 2012.

Price and Purity

The visualisation below shows that while the price of cocaine has been going down over the last decade. its purity has shot up – perhaps partly explaining why it is Europe’s second favourite drug.

Heroin users in treatment

The graphic below shows that there remains an average gap of 11 years before Europeans’ first use of heroin and their entry into treatment.

Needle exchange

The map below shows the large variation in the availability of needle and syringe exchange throughout Europe.


These charts are just a very small selection of the data available. If you want to investigate further, then this page will allow you to look at a wide range of issues in up to 15 countries at a time on such issues as prevalence, overdoses, infectious diseases, drug seizures and prison drug use.

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