According to figures published in the annual report by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, the Dutch are among the lowest users of cannabis in Europe. Only 5.4 percent of Dutch adults reported using cannabis, which is a fair bit below the European average of 6.8 percent.
A higher percentage of adults in Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic and France took cannabis last year, the EU agency said, with the highest being Italy at 14.6 percent. Usage in Italy used to be among the lowest at below 10 percent a decade ago.
Cannabis use in Europe rose steadily during the 90s and earlier this decade, but has recently stabilised and is beginning to show signs of decline, the agency said, owing to several national campaigns to curb and treat use of the drug.
The use of cocaine however, is on the rise in several countries. Cocaine use among young adults ranged from 3.1% to 5.5% in the countries most affected - Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Spain and the UK. 3.9 percent of all European adults say to have used cocaine at least once.
The report also mentions and praises Portugal’s liberal drug policy. Initially it was feared that the decriminalization of drugs would lead to drug-tourism and increased drug usage among the young. Neither of this actually happened, and resources are now successfully used for prevention and harm reduction.
The full report can be found at the website of the EMCDDA. See http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/publications/annual-report/2009