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Over 80 per cent of drug seizures in Europe are for cannabis

A Europe-wide study founf that Ireland, relative to other countries, has a small number of drug seizures each year – between one and ten thousand a year.

Image: An Garda Síochána via Facebook

MORE THAN 80 PER cent of drug seizures in Europe are for cannabis, a massive study on drug use in Europe has found.

The study published yesterday said around one million seizures of illicit drugs are reported annual in Europe. Most of these are small quantities of drugs confiscated from users, although this total also includes multi-kilogram consignments seized from traffickers and producers.

In 2012, two-thirds of all seizures in the European Union were reported by just two countries, Spain and the United Kingdom. Smaller, but non-trivial numbers of seizures were reported by Germany, Belgium, Italy and four Nordic countries.

Source: European Drug Report 2014

The map above shows that Ireland, relative to other countries, has a small number of seizures – between one and ten thousand a year.

In the UK, the number of seizures is greater than 100,000. Most of the seizures are for herbal cannabis and cannabis resin.

The annual consumption of these products can be roughly estimated at around 2 000 tonnes. Over the past ten years, the number of herbal seizures has
overtaken that of resin, and now represents almost two-thirds of all cannabis seizures.

The report said this reflects the growing availability of domestically produced herbal cannabis in many countries.

Source: European Drug Report 2014

The emergence of synthetic cannabinoids, chemicals that mimic the effects of cannabis, has added a new dimension to the cannabis market, according to the report.

Most synthetic cannabinoid powders appear to be manufactured in China, and are then shipped in bulk, using established legitimate transport and distribution networks. Once in the European Union, the chemicals are typically mixed with or sprayed onto herbs and packaged as ‘legal high’ products for sale either on the Internet or via other retailers.

In the first six months of 2013, eighteen countries reported more than 1 800 seizures of synthetic cannabinoids.

Read: Ireland is the third highest for drug-induced deaths in Europe>

Read: HSE issues alert as green ecstasy pills kill two people in the last four days>

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