The production of psychoactive substances is on the rise is Europe with cannabis still being the most used drug in the European Union, the bloc's drug agency said in its yearly report published on Thursday (4 June).
The annual report published by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) showed that over a hundred new psychoactive substances were detected in Europe in 2014 and risk assessments were conducted on six new drugs, marking record highs.
"The market for illicit drugs is the most dynamic of all criminal markets. It is a globalised and a rapidly changing market. The production of new psychoactive substances is increasingly taking place in the European Union moving closer to consumer markets. This growing criminal activity requires a clear, strong and coherent answer at European level," EU commissioner for migration, home affairs and citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said in Lisbon at the presentation of the annual report.
Avramopoulos said that migration should not be linked to the drug trade, even if it has been confirmed that smugglers use migrants to traffic drugs.
"We must not link migration with drugs but, but as far as smugglers activities are concerned, yes it has been confirmed, they use this tool in order to conduct their operations. So, as we said recently in Brussels, we have declared war against smugglers and the ways they have adopted to exploit these desperate people," he said.
Cannabis, the annual European Drug Report said, is still the most used drug in the EU and has been tried by an estimated 79 million Europeans over the course of their lives.
"Cannabis remains Europe's most widely consumed illicit drug with some 20 million adults using it in the last year. About 1% of European adults are daily cannabis users," EMCDDA director Wolfgang Gotz said.
The report stresses the major role played by cannabis in drug-related crime statistics and says it accounts for 80% of the number of seizures. Cannabis use or possession for personal consumption accounts for over 60% of all reported drug law offences in Europe, the report said.
Gotz said there were no plans in Europe to go down the route of regulated sale of cannabis adopted in some parts of the Americas.
"In Europe I do not know any government or parliamentary majority backing a government that is currently seriously discussing cannabis legalisation or regulation in a different way," he said.
The report stressed that in the EU the main concern remains the potential health costs of cannabis use, despite debate sparked by regulation of cannabis in parts of North and South America.
Gotz also said there was no discussion in the bloc regarding the criminalisation of drug consumers.
"The other discussion which is, I think, in Europe quite accepted everywhere is that a drug consumer, a cannabis consumer in particular, should not be criminalised, and I think that is very much where we are in Europe, I don't see a discussion for the moment coming up, as it is, at the level of the Americas," he said.
In December 2013, Uruguay became the first country to legalise the growing, sale and smoking of marijuana, a pioneering social experiment aimed at wresting the business from criminals that will be closely watched by others debating drug liberalisation.