This year’s annual report of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction is accompanied by additional online elements including our new statistical bulletin, now in its second year, which has grown to include over 200 source tables of quantitative data detailing the European drug situation.

The EMCDDA has been working with the Member States of the European Union for more than 10 years to develop a comprehensive picture of the European drug phenomenon. The quantity and quality of the data now available to inform the analysis in this year’s annual report reflect not only the technical achievements of the scientific working groups that provide the information, but also the commitment of policy-makers across Europe to invest in and support the data collection process. This is a concrete example of the benefits of working together at the European level. Member States differ not only in respect of the drug problems they face, but also in the ways in which they have responded to these challenges. Despite these differences, there has also now emerged what can regarded as a European perspective on the drugs issue. A strong consensus now exists on the need to base actions on a sound understanding of the situation, to share experiences on what works and to act together whenever it is possible to achieve common benefits. These aspirations can be found in the new EU strategy and action plan on drugs and also form the key themes of our reporting here.

Our annual report highlights many important areas of concern about the way drug use is impacting on both citizens and the communities in which they live. We draw attention to emerging problems with which we are now confronted, such as the rising use in parts of Europe of stimulant drugs, and cocaine in particular, or the continued growth in the number of young Europeans who are experimenting with drugs. Clearly, there is still much to be done to improve the response to drug use in Europe. Nevertheless, in this report we are also able to point to a number of positive developments, not least the overall expansion of services for those with drug problems and signs of stabilisation or even a decline in some of the more damaging aspects of this phenomenon. Thus, this report not only highlights some of the key problems that we are facing, but also sheds light on what is likely to be the way forward in effectively addressing drug problems in Europe.

We are pleased to note that once again this year there has been an increase in the data available from the new Member States of the European Union. As well as reporting on the situation in the enlarged Union, when available, we also include data from Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey and some analysis on important international developments. The global nature of the drug problem means that we must locate our European analysis within a broader context. The trafficking and use of drugs are inextricably linked with many of today’s most pressing concerns. Drug use impacts on global health and development, crime and personal safety, and international security. Our report is focused very much on the European picture, but we cannot afford to ignore the fact that we are addressing a problem with global dimensions.

Marcel Reimen

Chairman, EMCDDA Management Board

Wolfgang Götz

Director, EMCDDA