EU centre calls for policies to help female drug users
Patterns of drug misuse in the European Union are changing, with a chronically ageing population among heroin addicts and a wider use of cocaine, cannabis, and combinations of amphetamines, ecstasy, and medicines.
The picture is contained in the annual report of the European Union's European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction in Lisbon. It estimates that the number of drug addicts has remained stable at around 1.5 million, but within that figure lie different trends.
The numbers of people starting treatment for heroin are decreasing and users tend to be older with serious social and psychiatric problems. In contrast, new admissions for cocaine or cannabis use are rising, especially among the young.
Among schoolchildren, experience of cannabis ranges from 5-7% in Portugal and Sweden to 30-40% in the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.
The centre makes a plea for more tailor-made responses to take account