Synthetic drug use rapidly rising in Europe, report finds

New synthetic psychoactive substances are making their way into Europe where the Internet is becoming a big challenge in the fight against illicit drugs, the continent's drug agency warned Tuesday.

Drug use in Europe remains high even though the consumption of cannabis and cocaine appears to be slowing, as is new heroin use, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) said in its annual report.

"New and patterns of use are appearing, both on the illicit drug market and in the context of non-controlled substances," the Lisbon-based centre said in its report.

"The Internet presents growing challenges, both as a mechanism for rapid diffusion of new trends and as a burgeoning anonymous marketplace with global reach."

The centre said more chemical or natural substances were emerging on the market, with 73 new detected in 2012—compared to just 49 in 2011—many of them close to cannabis due to high demand.

"A recent development is an increasing proportion of substances reported that are from less known and more obscure chemical groups," the report said.

"Many of the products on sale contain mixtures of substances, and the lack of pharmacological and toxicological data means it is hard to speculate on implications of use."

Mephedrone, a party drug often called "meow meow" described as a mix between amphetamines, cocaine and ecstasy, is an example of a new drug that has become a sought-after substance on the illicit stimulant market.

"Today's drug market appears to be... less structured around plant-based substances shipped over to consumer markets in Europe," the report said.

Altogether, around a quarter of Europe's has used an illicit drug at some point in their lives.

And while the practice of is slowing, the report says figures show the long-term decline in the number of new HIV diagnoses in Europe could be interrupted as a result of outbreaks among drug users in Greece and Romania.

The report however welcomed that a record number of people—an estimated 1.2 million—had received treatment for use in Europe during 2011.


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© 2013 AFP

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arq
May 28, 2013
This makes me wonder...why dont pharma companies step in with their own synthetic drugs. People want drugs for various reasons but drugs like these are dangerous. So pharma companies could enter this market and start making drugs like these but using safer ingredients that cause a high without hallucinations. Is it a stretch to think ingredients like that do exist? And of course well tested.

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