The European Union has sounded the alert about drug dealers targetting the European Union market with increasingly sophisticated strategies.
Herbal mix products – some of them still legal, some banned – are available more and more easily online. A yearly report by the EU drugs agency warns that suppliers are ‘highly innovative’ in production and adapt quickly to controls. The agency’s Wolfgang Götz said: “The real problem is not this herbal mix, the real problem is that we found synthetic cannabinoïds in certain batches. They have similar effects to cannabis. In this package, nobody knows how much is in it, there is no experience, we don’t know anything about long-term effects, and it is a situation where you have something sold and aggressively sold, (containing) a substance that might be dangerous.” While the report confirmed that cannabis use is stable or down, especially among teens, and cocaine use is up, the so-called “spice” plant cocktails are a growing alternative to controlled substances. They are mostly sold in the UK, although 115 online drugs shops were surveyed across Europe. As drug-taking repertoires become increasingly complex, the novelty product’s popularity is attributed to its resemblance to cannabis and its attractive packaging. The agency said Europe’s most popular opioid, heroin, meanwhile, remains under control, with no evidence of a return to the epidemic spread of its use seen in the past.