Amphetamines and ecstasy (MDMA)

Europe remains an important area for the production and use of amphetamines and ecstasy but not methamphetamine. After cannabis, the most commonly used drug in EU countries is usually either ecstasy or amphetamine, with rates of lifetime experience among the adult population generally ranging between 0.5 % and 5 %. In the past, prevalence of amphetamine use was generally higher than prevalence of ecstasy use, but this difference is now less apparent. Among school populations, lifetime experience of inhalants is second only to that of cannabis and in general is considerably higher than experience of either ecstasy or amphetamines.

As with cannabis, the highest rates of lifetime and recent use are found among young adults. A number of indicators suggest that ecstasy use has continued to spread among some sections of urban youth in Europe. Some studies have found extremely high prevalence rates among such groups, although a pronounced increase in use of the drug is not generally observable in the wider population.

The numbers of people treated for an amphetamine problem in Europe varies widely: just under a third of drug users in treatment in Sweden and Finland are amphetamine users, compared with around 9 % in Germany and 3 % or less in all other countries. In almost all countries rates of treatment demand related to ecstasy are very low. A small number of deaths in Europe can be directly attributed to the use of ecstasy, but overall the numbers remain low in comparison with deaths related to opioids.

Although there have been some fluctuations in recent years, and possibly signs of stabilisation in some areas, both amphetamine and ecstasy seizures (numbers and quantities) have increased substantially in the EU over the last decade. In Finland, Sweden and Norway, amphetamines are the second most commonly seized drug (after cannabis).