World Drug Report 2024

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released the World Drug Report on the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

A global reference on drug markets, trends and policy developments, the World Drug Report offers a wealth of data and analysis and in 2024 comprises several elements tailored to different audiences. The web-based Drug market patterns and trends module contains the latest analysis of global, regional and subregional estimates of and trends in drug demand and supply in a user-friendly, interactive format supported by graphs, infographics and maps. The Key findings and conclusions booklet provides an overview of selected findings from the analysis presented in the Drug market patterns and trends module and the thematic Contemporary issues on drugs booklet, while the Special points of interest fascicle offers a framework for the main takeaways and policy implications that can be drawn from those findings.


As well as providing an in-depth analysis of key developments and emerging trends in selected drug markets, the Contemporary issues on drugs booklet looks at several other developments of policy relevance. The booklet opens with a look at the 2022 Taliban ban on the cultivation and production of and trafficking in drugs in Afghanistan and its implications both within the country and in transit and destination markets elsewhere. This is followed by a chapter examining the convergence of drug trafficking and other activities and how they affect natural ecosystems and communities in the Golden Triangle in South-East Asia. The chapter also assesses the extent to which drug production and trafficking are linked with other illicit economies that challenge the rule of law and fuel conflict. Another chapter analyses how the dynamics of demand for and supply of synthetic drugs vary when the gender and age of market participants are considered. The booklet continues with an update on regulatory approaches to and the impact of legalization on the non-medical cannabis market in different countries, and a review of the enabling environment that provides broad access to the unsupervised, “quasi-therapeutic” and non-medical use of psychedelic substances. Finally, the booklet offers a multi-dimensional framework on the right to health in the context of drug use; these dimensions include availability, accessibility, acceptability, quality, non-discrimination, non-stigmatization and participation.

The World Drug Report 2024 is aimed not only at fostering greater international cooperation to counter the impact of the world drug problem on health, governance and security, but also at assisting Member States in anticipating and addressing threats posed by drug markets and mitigating their consequences.

Key highlights of the report include:

  • Rise in drug abuse: In the decade to 2022, the number of people using illicit drugs increased to 292 million.
  • Most abused drugs: Cannabis followed by opioids, amphetamines, cocaine, and ecstasy.
  • Most affected regions:Criminal activity and trafficking are common in remote regions with multiple borders and limited governance such as:
    • Triple Frontier area (Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay) and Golden Triangle (Laos Myanmar and Thailand).
  • Cannabis legalisation: Cannabis was legalised across Canada, Uruguay, and 27 jurisdictions in the US.
    • THC (delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol) is believed to be the main ingredient behind the psychoactive effect of the drug.
  • Environmental fallout: Illegal drug-related activities contribute to deforestation, toxic waste dumping, and chemical contamination.

To access the World Drug Report, following this link>>>.


The evidence is clear: invest in prevention

DPNSEE Executive Director Milutin Milošević participated in the Conference organised by the Office for Combating Drugs in Serbia, on the ocassion of the World Drug Day. The Conference was dedicated to prevention, but other issues related to drugs were also tackled.

Milutin presented work of the Civil Society Forum on Drugs, the expert advisory group of the European Commission. DPNSEE is member of the Forum and chairs the Working Group 4 Emerging issues on drug policies.

He presented the activities realised in the three-year mandate of the Forum, emphasizing those where DPNSEE were fully involved or took the lead:

  • Position Paper on Alternatives to Coercive Sanctions
  • Contribution from the Civil Society Forum on Drugs to enhance the gender perspective into EU DRUG policy
  • Position paper | People who use drugs and mental health
  • EU – Western Balkans Dialogue
  • Position Paper on Decriminalisation

Milutin also presented CSFD communication with the ECMDDA (in a few days to be the European Union Drug Agency) on their new mandat that will include more opportunities for cooperation with and support to the civil society.

Irena Molnar, from our member organisation Re Generation, presented their work on collecting Serbia’s input to the European Drug Report.

Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health

UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health Tlaleng Mofokeng presented her fourth independent report to the UN’s Human Rights Council on Monday. The report highlights the need to look more closely at the disproportionate negative impact that current policy has on “at-risk” groups in society that are often targeted by drug laws and the policing thereof.

Mofokeng, who has been a special rapporteur on the right to health since 2020, said criminalization, stigmatization and discrimination posed structural barriers for those with dependencies. Her report underscores the idea that states are obliged to make decisions on evidence-based interventions that minimize adverse health risks.

Special rapporteurs and independent experts at the UN are part of the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system.

To access the report, follow this link>>>.


Time for change

Amnesty International launched this new policy paper “Time for change – Advancing new drug policies that uphold human rights” to contribute to the advancement of drug policies that better uphold human rights.

Amnesty International is calling on States to adopt new models of drug control that put the protection of people’s health and other human rights at the centre, including the decriminalization of the use, possession, cultivation and acquisition of drugs for personal use, and the effective regulation of drugs to provide legal and safe channels for those permitted to access them.

Such policies must be accompanied by an expansion of health and other social services to address drug-related problems as well as other measures to address the underlying socio-economic causes that increase the risks of using drugs and that lead people to engage in the illicit drug trade such as poverty, discrimination, unemployment, illness, denial of education or lack of housing.

To access this policy paper, follow this link>>>.


Training for local advocacy

Six organisations that will implement local advocacy project that won the support throught a BOOST call for proposals gathered for a workshop in Budapest, Hungary on 13 and 14 June. Workshop aims and objectives were to:

  • Provide a comprehensive understanding of key advocacy concepts and the nuances of advocacy within the harm reduction field.
  • Familiarize participants with the BOOST project’s aims, objectives, and activities, including the Advocacy Strategy.
  • Review and improve local advocacy plans, emphasizing the community’s role in shaping and implementing these plans.
  • Provide tools and resources for the development and implementation of advocacy

Our colleagues from ARAS (Romania) and HOPS (North Macedonia) were among them, together with BerLUN (Germany), HuNPUD (Hungary), R3 (Portugal) and XADUD (Spain).

Besides inputs on the BOOST project, Advocacy, How to engage communities developing and implementing communities, and Media advocacy, participants had the opportunity to present their projects and work with mentors to fine-tune their projects and plans for their implementation.

ARAS plans to use the Electoral Year 2024, which in Romania includes elections on different levels, to ensure long term political support for harm reduction funding at all levels.

HOPS prepared a project to ensure the financial sustainability of Harm Reduction Programs in North Macedonia. It is important because last years the Ministry of Health cut the budget for harm reduction programs by about 40%.

Participants and regional network representatives were interviewed about their advocacy projects by the Right Reporter Foundation, Budapest based organisation that is an expert in video advocacy. The video they shall produce will be disseminated via BOOST project and partners’ communication channels.

European Drug Report 2024

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) launched its European Drug Report 2024: Trends and Developments. The report, issued annualy, describes the drug situation to the end of 2023, based on data from 2022 or the latest year available.

The EMCDDA’s latest analysis of the European drug phenomenon reveals a drug market that is both resilient and influenced by developments taking place at the global level. The continuing health and security problems presented by established and newer illicit drugs, and increasingly the interplay between them, create a challenging policy context for the shaping and implementation of effective responses.

A central message from the 2024 European Drug Report’s analysis is that the impact of the use of illicit drugs is now seen almost everywhere in our society. Almost everything with psychoactive properties has the potential to be used as a drug. This means that everyone, whether directly or indirectly, can be affected by illicit drug use and the problems associated with it.

The report highlights concerns around potent synthetic opioids, sometimes mis-sold or mixed with medicines and other drugs; MDMA adulterated with synthetic cathinones; and cannabis products adulterated with synthetic cannabinoids. By the end of 2023, the EMCDDA was monitoring over 950 new psychoactive substances (NPS), 26 of which were first reported in Europe in that year.

A key message of this year’s report is that ‘polysubstance use‘ – the use of two or more psychoactive substances at the same time or in sequence – is common in Europe today. Whether it involves using benzodiazepines with opioids, or cocaine with alcohol, this pattern of drug use can increase health risks and complicate the delivery of interventions (e.g. overdose response). These challenges are further complicated when drug mixtures are consumed unknowingly.

To access the European Drug Report 2024, follow this link>>>.


Slovenia voted on cannabis cultivation and use

Prepared using news from Radiotelevizija Slovenija

Together with European elections, Slovenia voted last weekend on 4 consultative referundums, out of which 2 were related to cannabis. The voters convincingly supported the use of cannabis for medical purposes, while with regard to support for the use of cannabis for personal use, the result was closer.

The referendum questions were: Should Slovenia allow the cultivation and processing of cannabis for medical purposes on its territory? and Should Slovenia allow the cultivation and possession of cannabis for limited personal use on its territory?

According to the partial unofficial results of the consultative referendum (99.95 percent of the votes were counted), voters supported the use of cannabis for medical purposes with a two-thirds majority – 66,65% voted in favour whilce 33,35% were against.

In the consultative referendum on the use of cannabis for limited personal use, the outcome is different. 99.98 percent of the votes were counted and 51,55% voted in favour while 48,45% were against.

The Pirate Party, as the organizers of the campaign for all three consultative referendums, welcomed the results, which show voter support for all four referendum questions. However, they are disappointed by the lack of substantive discussion regarding the referendum question on the cultivation and possession of cannabis for limited personal use.

The Youth Party of Green Europe is also disappointed by the lack of opportunities for quality debate in the referendum campaign. The party, which was among the organizers of the campaign for all three referendums, warned of a large amount of intimidation in the campaign, but stressed that they were satisfied with the outcome.


Public Consultation for the evaluation of the EU Drugs Strategy

In the framework of the ongoing evaluation of the EU Drugs Strategy 2021-2025 and EU Drugs Action Plan 2021-2025, the European Commission has launched a Public Consultation to collect feedback from a broad range of stakeholders including EU and non-EU citizens, academy, NGOs, private sector and public authorities amongst others.

The consultation aims to gather input on the effectiveness, efficiency, relevance, coherence and EU added value of the Strategy and Action Plan for the period covered from 2021 until now.

The consultation was launched on 3 June 2024 and will close on 26 August 2024.

Please find the link to the consultation here>>>.


Strengthening Harm Reduction Advocacy Across Europe

Correlation – European Harm Reduction Network, in collaboration with the Rights Reporter Foundation, offers a comprehensive webinar series. Designed for the focal points and members of our network, these sessions aim to bolster your advocacy skills and amplify your impact in the realm of harm reduction.


Webinar 1 – Harm Reduction Advocacy: Planning, Tools and Audiences

May 22, 12:00 – 1:30 pm

Advocacy is often a challenge for civil society organisations working in the field of harm reduction because of lack of know-how, capacities and resources. This webinar helps participants to gain a better understanding of what advocacy is: the art of influencing policy decision making. It explains how to plan and monitor advocacy activities. Various advocacy activities, tools and methods will be reviewed and discussed, according to their usefulness in influencing various groups of stakeholders in different contexts. In the second part of the webinar, participants will share their own on-the-ground experiences with advocacy in the field of drug policies, both successes and failures, and discuss lessons learnt.

Register for Webinar 1


Webinar 2 – Harm Reduction Video Advocacy

May 29, 12:00 – 1:30 pm

Online videos can reach out to a wide audience, mobilise people for a cause, and document best practices and/or human rights abuses. They can be used in public education, give voice to marginalised people, visualise research data and have the potential to go viral on social media. This webinar gives a short introduction to video advocacy, by presenting examples from the 17 years of work of Drugreporter, in the field of drug policy reform and harm reduction advocacy. The webinar will discuss the opportunities and challenges of video storytelling.

Register for Webinar 2


Webinar 3 – Meaningful Involvement of Civil Society

June 11, 12:00 – 1:30 pm

The meaningful involvement of civil society is now widely accepted in Europe as a crucial part of policy making. However, there is little or no consensus on what constitutes “meaningful” involvement. This webinar will present a new tool developed by the EU Civil Society Forum on Drugs in 2022, the Quality Standards of Civil Society Involvement, and the findings of a focus group study to assess civil society involvement in four European countries (Hungary, Finland, Greece and Ireland). Participants will discuss the often opposing views on the role of civil society, the challenges and opportunities of civil society involvement in various political contexts at European, national and local levels. The webinar will address the worrying trend of shrinking space for civil society in Europe.

Register for Webinar 3


Webinar 4 – Fighting Disinformation and Moral Panics

June 18, 12:00 – 1:30 pm

Drug policies are often influenced by sensational media reporting that fuels moral panics about drugs and leads to the othering of people who use drugs. The spread of disinformation is a major barrier to drug policy reform, undermines basic norms and values like human rights and scapegoats civil society organisations. This webinar addresses strategies to fight disinformation in an age that is often characterised as post-truth. Participants will discuss what methods they use to educate the public about drugs and drug policies and how to defend civil society from politically motivated attacks.

Register for Webinar 4


Handbook on Services for Women Who Use Drugs

Today, on the Harm Reduction Day, AIDS Action Europe presented the Handbook on Services for Women Who Use Drugs.

This handbook offers practical examples for creating specific activities for women who use drugs or opioid substitution therapy. It can also just serve as inspiration for other types of initiatives and projects. The aim is to increase the uptake of services by women who use drugs in the medium term.

To make these suggestions for specific activities as practical as possible, authors have developed them in the form of fact sheets, based on the knowledge and experience of women working in women-specific organisations.

The handbook was initially developed by Deutsche Aidshilfe and translated into English and Russian by AIDS Action Europe.

To access the Handbook, follow this link>>>.