Heroin

In 2000, almost 9 tonnes of heroin was seized in the EU, of which over one-third was seized in the United Kingdom. Heroin seized in the EU comes mainly from Afghanistan (and Pakistan), followed by South-East Asian countries, via Iran, Turkey and the Balkan route. However, increased trafficking via eastern Europe (Russia, Estonia, Byelorussia, Bosnia) and central Asian countries from the former USSR is reported.

At street level, heroin prices in 2001, on average, varied from EUR 31 to 194 per gram across the EU. The highest prices are reported in the Nordic countries and Ireland. Heroin (white or brown) average purity ranges from 14 % to 48 %, but in 2001 Norway reported a higher average purity of white heroin.

Trends

At EU level, heroin seizures (Figure 28 OL) increased up until 1991–92 and then stabilised. In 2001, they decreased in Denmark, Germany, France, Luxembourg and Portugal. Compared with the situation in 1985, quantities seized (Figure 29 OL) at EU level have been increasing. They stabilised during the period 1991–98, but have been increasing again since then. In 2001, a majority of countries reported increases in the amount of heroin seized. According to Europol, the spectacular decrease in Afghan opium production in 2001 was not reflected to the same extent in the availability of heroin in the EU drugs market, probably because of the vast opium and heroin stocks that built up after the record harvests of 1999 and 2000.



Heroin street prices are generally stable or decreasing, though in 2001 an increase was reported in Belgium (brown heroin) and Denmark. Heroin purity is generally reported to be stable or decreasing in all countries, although recently the purity of brown heroin has increased in Belgium, Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom.