Deaths from drugs overdoses still rising

For the third year in row deaths from drugs overdose in Europe have increased, with the UK and Germany together accounting for around half of these deaths, according to the latest European Drug Report.

A total of 8,441 overdose deaths, mainly related to heroin and other opioids, are estimated to have occurred in Europe in 2015, a 6% increase on 2014. Increases were reported in almost all age groups and the UK accounted for 31% of the deaths, with Germany a distant second on 15%.

The report finds that the three European countries with the highest volume of drug online sales are Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, with stimulants, in particular MDMA and cocaine, accounting for most of the sales revenue.

For more information and to download the European Drug Report from the website

Controlling speeding drivers

Around 1.25 million people die every year on the world’s roads. Studies indicate that:

  • almost half of all drivers exceed the speed limit
  • drivers who are male, young and under the influence of alcohol are more likely to be involved in speed-related crashes
  • road traffic accidents (RTAs) are the number one cause of death among young people aged 15–29 years
  • RTAs are estimated to cost countries from 3–5% of GDP and push many families into poverty.

‘Managing speed’, a new report from WHO, suggests that excessive or inappropriate speed contributes to 1 in 3 road traffic fatalities worldwide. Measures to address speed prevent road traffic deaths and injuries, make populations healthier, and cities more sustainable.

To read more about speed management to save lives from the website

New psychoactive substances in Europe: challenges and solutions

The new psychoactive substances (NPS) market has increased so fast that existing drug control laws have been left behind. European countries have responded in a variety of ways: some have introduced new legal responses to NPS, based on existing consumer or health protection laws,  or laws governing medicinal products, while others have developed innovative new legislation. However, in 2014 the EU’s Court of Justice ruled that substances are not medicinal products if they do not have beneficial effects on human health, thus restricting the use of such laws for NPS control.

This report is in two parts; the first is aimed at policymakers, and lists the challenges in NPS control and the solutions adopted in selected Member States. The second part is for legal practitioners, and focuses on the judgment of the Court of Justice and its practical effects on the transnational prosecution of NPS cases, describing the responses of some of the Member States most affected by the ruling.

Download the full report on New Psychoactive Substances on the website

Drug use and road safety

There is growing concern around the world about drug use and road safety.
This policy brief from WHO provides up-to-date information on drug use and road safety to support informed decisions on road safety and drug policies in WHO Member States. It focuses on drug-driving and not on drink-driving.
It proposes that drug-driving laws and programmes should be integrated into the overall drug policy frameworks. A similar approach has been used in drink-driving laws, which have been integrated into overall alcohol policies. It also points out that successful implementation of integrated policies and programmes requires effective collaboration between different sectors such as transport, police, health, drug control and education. A section of the brief offers examples of the way the public health sector can best contribute to such collaboration.
To download the policy brief on drug use and road safety from the website


Highest number of new HIV cases in Europe

With HIV infection diagnosed in over 142,000 people in 2014, the WHO European Region recorded the highest number of newly diagnosed infections in 1 year since the start of reporting in the 1980s. The most recent data indicates that the growth of the HIV epidemic is driven by the eastern part of the Region, where the number of new diagnoses has more than doubled during the past decade.

Heterosexual transmission is responsible for the increase in eastern Europe, and transmission through drug injection remains substantial. In the EU and the EEA, sex between men is the predominant mode of HIV transmission. Two in three new HIV infections are among native-born Europeans, while foreign-born individuals, including migrants, represent only one third of HIV diagnoses.

During the past decade, the number of diagnoses of HIV infection in migrants in Europe has declined sharply, and evidence shows that a significant proportion acquire HIV after arrival in Europe.

Almost half of HIV infections throughout the European Region are diagnosed late: this increases the risks for ill health, death and HIV transmission. The high number of AIDS cases in the eastern part of the Region confirms the role of late HIV diagnosis, delayed initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) and low treatment coverage.
The number of AIDS cases is going down continuously in the EU and EEA. But two thirds of AIDS diagnoses reported in 2014 occurred at the time of or shortly after the HIV diagnosis, indicating that the immune system of these people had already started to fail. Migrants are more likely to have a late diagnosis, but only half of EU and EEA countries provide free treatment for undocumented migrants.

To read more about HIV in Europe on the website

Tackling Substance Abuse

substance abuse

October 2015 – This seminar looked at some of the issues around drug and alcohol abuse and ways of reducing harm. The expert speakers looked specifically at so-called ‘legal highs’, more correctly known as ‘new pyscho-active substances’ and alcohol, particularly underage drinking.

The programme includes speaker biographies and the presentations include details of the forth-coming NPS law.

Tobacco Policy in a Changing World: Plain packaging and e-cigarettes

February 2015. This seminar  brought together policy-makers and practitioners for a stimulating and informative overview of the situation in Europe and the UK with regard to tobacco use and legislation. Our speakers – Hazel Cheeseman from ASH and Kate Knight from SmokeFree South West – are experts in both the rise of e-cigarettes and the legal battles being waged by the tobacco industry against plain packaging.

The programme gives an outline of the seminar and brief biographies of the speakers, while the full presentation covers this subject in fascinating detail.

Drugs policy and the city in Europe

A paper from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction explores illicit drug problems and responses and the different forms they can take in city environments. It addresses four areas: urban spaces and drug use, responses to city-level drug problems, city-level drugs strategies, and the coordination and funding of city-level policies.

To download the paper, click here on

Treatment of cannabis-related disorders in Europe

This publication is part of a set of statistical articles based on the Eurostat document “Being young in Europe today. It reviews the interventions used in the treatment of cannabis disorders and maps out the geography of cannabis treatment in Europe.

To download the publication, click here on

For more information about the Eurostat document, click here on