Prevalence of Substance Use in the European Union

"Around 96 million or 29 % of adults (aged 15-64) in the European Union are estimated to have used illicit drugs at least once in their lifetime. This should be regarded as a minimum estimate due to reporting biases. Experience of drug use is more frequently reported by males (57.8 million) than females (38.4 million). The most commonly tried drug is cannabis (54.6 million males and 35.7 million females), with much lower estimates reported for the lifetime use of cocaine (12.1 million males and 5.8 million females), MDMA (9.1 million males and 4.6 million females) and amphetamines (8.1 million males and 4.1 million females). Levels of lifetime use of cannabis differ considerably between countries, ranging from around 4 % of adults in Malta to 45 % in France.

"Last year drug use provides a measure of recent drug use and is largely concentrated among young adults. An estimated 20.0 million young adults (aged 15-34) used drugs in the last year (16.6 %), with about twice as many males (21 %) as females (12 %) reporting doing so."


European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (2020), European Drug Report 2020: Trends and Developments, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg.