The latest European online survey on drug use carried out by the European Observatory on Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), carried out between March and April 2021 in 30 countries (21 in the European Union, including Portugal, and nine not belonging), concludes that, “although the consumption of herbal cannabis has increased, the consumption of MDMA/ecstasy has decreased” when many populations were subject to confinement.

“About a third of respondents (32%) reported using more cannabis (herbaceous) and 42% said they used less MDMA/ecstasy,” says the EMCDDA.

The Observatory points out, in the document that Lusa had access to, that the survey aims to “improve the understanding of drug consumption patterns in Europe and help define future policies and interventions”.

According to online responses from 48,469 adults in 21 Member States and Switzerland, cannabis was the most used drug, with 93% of users saying they had used it in the last 12 months and with little variation between countries.

MDMA/ecstasy, on the other hand, has a consumption percentage of 35%, cocaine 35% and amphetamines 28%, appearing as the most reported illicit substances after cannabis, “with the order of the three drugs varying from country to country”.

The survey revealed that a fifth (20%) of the sample reported having consumed LSD in the last year, 16% used new psychoactive substances (NSP) and 13% ketamine.

Heroin use was reported by three percent of respondents, says the Lisbon-based Observatory, noting that, “although the sample that reported heroin use was small, more than a quarter of these respondents (26%) indicated having used heroin more in the studied period”.

The data refer to a self-selected sample that used at least one illicit drug in the 12 months prior to the survey, explains the EMCDDA.