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Wednesday 6 December 2023 Dublin: 7°C
Big Money

The 5 most commonly used illegal drugs in Europe and how much they're worth

A new report released this week gave a breakdown of drug trends in Europe.

Statista Statista

CANNABIS IS THE most widely used drug in Europe and accounts for almost 40% of the entire drug market, according to a new EU drugs report.

The estimated market value of cannabis is €9.3 billion annually. This is within a range of  €8.4 to €12.9 billion.

It is followed by heroin – which is worth an estimated €6.8 billion (between €6 and €7.8 billion) and is responsible for a significant proportion of drug-related deaths and social costs.

This is followed by cocaine (€5.7 billion), amphetamine (€1.8 billion) and MDMA/ecstasy (€0.67 billion).

New psychoactive substances are also a serious and growing market, but due to the large number of different substances falling under this heading and the speed with which new products are introduced – it’s difficult to put a market value on their worth.

The figures are all contained in the EU Drug Markets Report 2016 released this week, which delves into the dominant trends in the supply and distribution of illicit drugs across Europe.

It is a joint effort by the the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) and Europol, the European policing agency.


The report delves into the trends and the impact that the illegal drugs trade has on societies – both socially and financially.

It states that around 22 million adults across the EU use cannabis regularly and about 1% use it on an almost daily basis.

Organised crime gangs are heavily involved in its production, and the report states that Vietnamese gangs are active in producing and distributing the drug in a number of countries, including Ireland.

A lot of the product now sold across Europe is grown domestically – but there are still major supply routes for shipments coming out of north Africa.

The report states that aside from being a major public health issue, the illegal drugs market affects the economy in the amount of money that it generates that affects the GDP as countries as well as the vast amounts of money spent by governments trying to tackle the issue.

You can view the full report or a summary of the key points here.  

Read: Ireland is the biggest user of legal highs in Europe as their growth shows ‘no signs of a slowdown’

Read: Plan to tackle drug use in laneway near busy Dublin shopping street

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