Europe's Drug War

07 December 2017
Europe's Drug War

The United States of America have made recent headlines in relation to an ongoing opioid crisis. However, Albania’s deep-rooted drug problem highlights Europe’s own opioid crisis.

For a country with a historically low domestic drug problem, Albania became the world’s highest per capita cocaine consumer in 2016 – 2017 according to a recent report by Newsweek. With a vast coastline along the Adriatic, the country is now popular for illicit goods, weapons and drugs in Europe. Discussing the countries unfolding crisis in a recent speech, Lulzim Basha (lawyer and leader of the Democratic Party of Albania) voiced, “So many drugs have been cultivated, they now lie in tunnels, storage units and warehouses. It is from these locations that the drugs are trafficked to Italy and other European countries.”

Earlier this year euobserver documented that drug fatalities in Europe have once again increased for the third consecutive year, according to the Lisbon-based European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA). EMCDDA’s director, Alexis Goosdeel said of the results “Opioids, and often heroin, are present in the majority of cases, often in combination with alcohol or benzodiazepine.” Randox Toxicology’s DoA ULTRA panel on our patented Biochip Array Technology offers the most comprehensive drugs of abuse test menu across multiple matrices. Our level of expertise in toxicology research and development allows us to adapt quickly to the ever-changing market influences and develop assays for current and novel drug trends. DoA ULTRA enables the detection of up to 20 targeted drugs, offering the largest cross-reactivity profile of over 240 analytes, which include; benzodiazepines I and II, methadone, tramadol, benzoylecgonine/cocaine, and opiates such as morphine and heroin.

A particular increase of heroin related deaths was reported for the United Kingdom, with heroin and morphine cited for 1,200 deaths in Wales and England, a 26 per cent increase since 2016. Ireland, Scotland and Turkey also recorded an increase in heroin related deaths. Dimitris Avramopoulos, EU home affairs commissioner noted that “66 new psychoactive substances were detected by the European Early Warning System”, more than one per week. However, despite the increase in heroin, cannabis continues to remain the most commonly used illicit drug in Europe with a reported 88 million adult users in 2016.

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