Last year 73 new synthetic drugs were detected in Europe, according to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMDCCA). Of these drugs, 30 were variations of synthetic marijuana.
“These products, which can be extremely potent, have now been reported in virtually all European countries,” according to the agency’s annual report. The BBC notes the agency detected 49 new drugs in 2011.
An estimated 85 million adults—one quarter of Europe’s adult population—have used an illicit drug, the report found.
Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, said in a news release, “The new drugs phenomenon is now recognized to be a global issue and a globalized market, which makes it particularly difficult to control. The report shows that organized crime is involved in the production of new drugs, a rapidly developing and expanding market with low risks and high profits.”
In a study conducted with Europol, the EMCDDA found synthetic drugs are often imported in bulk from China and India for processing and packaging.
The annual report noted there are fewer new users of heroin, and less marijuana and cocaine use in some countries. The agency called for more long-term support for substance abuse treatment.