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Monday, 22 November, 1999, 18:38 GMT
Britain cannabis capital of Europe
40% of teenagers and 9% of adults have smoked cannabis
40% of teenagers and 9% of adults have smoked cannabis
More cannabis is smoked in England and Wales by both adults and teenagers than in any other country in the European Union.

The use of ecstasy, amphetamines and LSD in England and Wales is also higher than anywhere else in the EU, along with the Republic of Ireland and the Netherlands.

In its 1999 report, Europe's drug monitoring agency also says teenage schoolchildren in England and Wales have the worse drugs record.


The reports says cannabis use is no longer seen as 'deviant'
The reports says cannabis use is no longer seen as 'deviant'
The agency has found up to 40% of 15 and 16-year-olds in England and Wales have tried cannabis, the highest rate in the EU.

Across all age groups more people were found to have used cannabis in England and Wales in the last 12 months than in any other country.

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction agency, based in Lisbon, has more damning statistics for England and Wales.

More school children have abused solvents than in any other EU country.


Drug Use in England and Wales
40% of 15 and 16-year-olds have tried cannabis
20% have experimented with solvents
2% have tried heroin
9% of adults have used cannabis
A million "hits" of ecstasy each weekend in British clubs

Also 2% of teenagers in England and Wales have experimented with heroin, again the worst record in Europe.

The agency published its report on drug prevalence, usage patterns and responses on Monday.

Its monitoring centre in Portugal, was created in 1994 to provide EU leaders with reliable statistics to help them co-ordinate drug policies.

Drugs in Schools
The agency's report does make some positive remarks about the fight against drug abuse in England and Wales.

It says cannabis use among teenagers "has stabilised or even decreased", whereas it is still on the rise in other EU countries.


England and Wales have the worst teenage heroin use record
England and Wales have the worst teenage heroin use record
Almost half of the entire heroin seized in the EU in 1997 was intercepted in Britain, which has consistently topped the league of drug seizures since 1995.

The report said drug-related HIV infection rates among intravenous drug users were just 1% in Britain compared to 32% in Spain.

The agency estimates 40 million people have tried cannabis, out of an EU population of 375 million.


A million 'hits' of ecstasy in the clubs every weekend
A million 'hits' of ecstasy in the clubs every weekend
As many as five million may have tried heroin, and the problem is spreading beyond big cities to towns and rural areas.

The number of addicts and other problem drug users has also increased to an estimated 1.5 million.

In general the 1999 report says the prevalence of problem drug use seems to be lowest in Germany, Austria, Finland and Sweden and highest in Italy, Luxembourg and the UK.

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