EMCDDA logo Annual report on the state of the drugs problem in the European Union 2001

Home of the Annual Report
Introduction to the annual report
Chapter 1: Drug demand and drug supply
Drug use
Health consequences
Law-enforcement indicators
Drug-market indicators
Chapter 2: Responses to drug use
Chapter 3: Selected issues
Chapter 4: The drugs problem in central and eastern European countries
Figures and tables
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Law-enforcement indicators

Figure 12

Figure 12


n.a. = data not available.
(1) Central stimulants (of which amphetamines make up the larger part).
(2) All illicit drugs except hashish and marijuana.
(3) Among all drugs mentioned (alone or not) in Austria, Finland, Luxembourg, Sweden and UK; and among drug convictions in the case of Sweden.
(4) Underestimated proportion since it represents offences for heroin only - it does not include offences for 'heroin' and other drugs(s).
(5) Among drug offences classified by drug (valid %).
Germany: among all offences broken down by drug (for some offences, a break down by drug is not available).
Sources Reitox focal points, 2000. See also statistical table on drug most frequently involved in 'arrests'.

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.

'Arrests'(12) 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 its derivatives).

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.

(12) 'Arrests' for drug offences are defined in different ways by the Member States. The term can, for example, refer to suspected offenders or to charges for drug law offences. Please, consult Table 3 OL for exact definitions.


'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'.

Table 3 OL Number of 'arrests' for drug law offences in EU countries

Figure 13



For definitions of 'arrests', please refer toTable 3OL, for references, to the complementary statistical table.
Real values have been input for all countries in 1999 and for Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden in 1998 since the data available do not allow the calculation of moving averages in these cases.
The series is discontinued for Belgium in 1996 and 1997 (data not available).
Greece: 1998 figure relates to a number of charges.

Reitox national focal points.

Drug users in prison

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.

Table 4 OL Proportion of drug users among prisoners in EU countries: Belgium and Denmark,
France, Germany and Greece, Ireland, Italy and Luxemburg, Netherlands, Austria, Spain, Finland and Sweden, United Kingdom

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 inside prison.


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