"The prevalence of high-risk opioid use among adults (15-64) is estimated at 0.4 % of the EU population, equivalent to 1.3 million high-risk opioid users in 2018. At national level, prevalence estimates of high-risk opioid use range from less than 1 to more than 8 users per 1 000 population aged 15-64 (Figure 27). The five most populous countries in the European Union (Germany, Spain, France, Italy, United Kingdom), account for three quarters (75 %) of this estimate.

"In 2018 use of opioids was reported as the main reason for entering specialised drug treatment by 143 000 clients, or 34 % of all those entering drug treatment in Europe. Of these, more than 27 000 were first-time entrants. Primary heroin users accounted for 77 % (almost 20 000 clients) of first-time primary opioid users entering treatment, a drop of 2 200 clients or 10 % compared with the previous year.

"According to the available trend data, the number of firsttime heroin clients has fallen by more than half from a peak observed in 2007. Between 2017 and 2018 the number of first-time treatment entrants for primary heroin use decreased in 18 countries out of the 29 with available data."


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