Furthermore the number of heroin-related offences has declined slightly in 2009. The number of heroin-related offences has increased in 11 reporting countries, while a decline was reported in Malta together with Bulgaria, Germany, the Netherlands and Austria for the same period.
However EMCDDA noted an emergence of new threats notably the increase of synthetic drugs, the appearance of new substances and ‘polydrug’ use, the use of more than one type of drugs at a time.
EMCDDA also expressed its concerns over potential outbreaks of HIV amongst youths who inject drugs. Generally, among the eight countries providing data since 2004 there was no large differences observed in HIV prevalence between injecting drug users in prison and those in other settings in the country. Also the hepatitis C virus (HCV) is more prevalent amongst drug injectors in Czech Republic, Luxembourg and Malta.
The European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström, said she welcomes the trends in this report adding that “whilst there are some positive trends regarding cocaine and cannabis use, we must remain vigilant, especially on the use of newer, synthetic substances.”
Malmström added that law enforcement authorities must continue to tackle the organised crime groups behind drug trafficking. She also anticipated the proposal of rules on the confiscation and recovery of assets involved in serious crime, including drug trafficking in order to fight organised crime.
In Malta the increase in the number of use offences reported in previous years decreased in 2009. Between 2004 and 2009, the number of drug law offences related to use increased in 15 reporting countries, with Malta being one of the six countries which sustained a decrease in these types of offences.