"Generally, between 1995 and 2011, there was an increase in the lifetime prevalence of illicit drug use, most of which occurred between 1995 and 1999. Since 2011, the prevalence has started to decrease slowly. The lifetime prevalence of illicit drug use among boys and girls follows a parallel trend, with the rate among girls being about 5-6 percentage points lower than that among boys (Figure 21).
"Overall, an average of 2.5% of the students had used NPS at least once in the last 12 months, with the highest prevalence reported in Czechia, Latvia, Estonia, Poland and Monaco (4.0-4.9%) and the lowest prevalence reported in North Macedonia, Finland and Portugal ( 0.4-0.8%; Figure 10a).
"Lifetime use of illicit drugs varied considerably across the ESPAD countries (Table 8a). On average, 17% of ESPAD students reported having used any illicit drug at least once. The highest percentage of students reporting lifetime use of any illicit drug was found in Czechia (29%), followed by Italy (28%), Latvia (27%) and Slovakia (25%). Particularly low levels (10% or less) of illicit drug use were noted in Kosovo, Iceland, North Macedonia, Ukraine, Serbia, Sweden, Norway, Greece and Romania.
"Cannabis was the most widely used illicit drug in all ESPAD countries. On average, 16% of students had used cannabis at least once in their lifetime (Table 8a). The countries with the highest prevalence of cannabis use were Czechia (28%), Italy (27%) and Latvia (26%). The lowest levels of cannabis use (2.9-7.3%) were reported in Kosovo, North Macedonia, Iceland and Serbia. On average, boys reported cannabis use to a larger extent than girls (boys 18 % versus girls 13%).
"It is estimated that 12.3 million adults in the European Union (aged 15-64), or 3.7% of this age group, have used amphetamines at least once in their lifetime. Figures from the 26 countries that report a survey between 2014 and 2018 suggest that 1.4 million (1.2%) young adults (aged 15-34) used amphetamines during the last year, with national prevalence estimates ranging from zero in Portugal to 3% in Finland (Figure 13). The available data suggest that over the longer term, prevalence levels have been relatively stable in most countries.
"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.
"On average, 7% of the ESPAD students stated that they had used marijuana or hashish during the past 30 days. As a proportion of the group reporting lifetime use, this corresponds to roughly four in ten. The highest rates of past-30-days cannabis use are found in the two neighbouring countries of France and Monaco (24% and 21%, respectively), followed by the United States (not an ESPAD country) (18 %) and the Czech Republic and Spain (not an ESPAD country) (15% each).
"It is estimated that 90.2 million adults in the European Union (aged 15-64), or 27.2 % of this age group, have used cannabis at least once in their lifetime. Around 15 % (18.0 million) of young adults (aged 15-34) report using cannabis in the last year, with males being typically twice as likely to report use than females. Among the 27 countries that undertook surveys between 2014 and 2018, considerable variation exists, with last year use rates among young adults ranging from 3.5 % in Hungary to 21.8 % in France.
"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).