DRUGS: RISE IN CANNABIS USE IN NEW MEMBER STATES, EU AGENCY REPORTS.

 
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No dramatic shift in drug use patterns was reported, with cannabis remaining the most popular illegal drug, used on an almost daily basis by up to 3 million people - mostly young men. Over 62 million Europeans have tried cannabis at least once in their life. There is growing concern about the negative impact of cannabis use but little data on whether it actually causes public health problems, the report says.

There are between one and two million 'problem drug users' in the EU, of whom 850,000 to 1.3 million are recent drug injectors. Heroin use peaked in the early 1990s and the situation is stable in most countries now, although more fluid in the new EU member states. The trend in amphetamine, ecstasy and cocaine use continues to be upward, although use of methamphetamine has been largely confined to the Czech Republic. Naturally occurring hallucinogens like magic mushrooms are increasingly popular with young people, it finds, while prevalence of the synthetic hallucinogen LSD is low.

Drug use rates in Europe remain lower than in the United States. For example, about 2% of 15-34 year-olds in Europe took cocaine in the past year compared to roughly 5% in the US. But there are considerable divergences from one country to another, with prevalence rates for cocaine less than 1% in Greece and...

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