Offences against national drug
legislation (such as use, possession and trafficking)
reflect differences in laws as well as the resources and
priorities of enforcement forces. Variations in recording
procedures and definitions affect comparisons. However,
wherever possible, trends are compared.
for drug law offences
Cannabis remains, in
1999, the most common drug involved in 'arrests' - accounting
for 45 % of the drug-related arrests in Italy to 85 %
in France. In Sweden, amphetamines are slightly more frequent
than cannabis. In Portugal and Luxembourg, heroin is predominant,
while in the Netherlands most of the drug offences are
related to 'hard drugs' (drugs other than cannabis and
The majority of the reported drug
offences are related to drug use or possession for use,
except in Italy, the Netherlands and Spain, where drug
offences concern only dealing or trafficking activities.
As in previous years, in 1999, Luxembourg reported the
majority of arrests involving offences for both drug
use and drug trafficking.
'Arrests' for drug law offences
have been steadily increasing since 1985 in the EU as
a whole. Increases by over sevenfold were reported in
Finland, Greece and Portugal while in Denmark, Italy,
the Netherlands and Sweden, increases were much lower
(twofold or less).
In the last three years, the
number of drug-related 'arrests' rose in most of the
EU countries. The highest increases were reported by
Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain. In 1999, Belgium
and the United Kingdom were the only countries reporting
a fall in the number of drug-related 'arrests'.
The prevalence of drug users
amongst prisoners is principally estimated through a
number of ad hoc studies carried out at local level.
Up to 90 % of prisoners report a lifetime use of an
illicit drug. Problem drug users and/or intravenous
drug users are less frequent but may represent up to
50 % of the prison population in some areas
Drug use within prison is reported
in several countries. Injecting drug users are less
likely to inject inside prison than in the community,
but they are much more likely to share injecting equipment