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Synthetic drug use rising in Europe: report

AFP-JIJI

New synthetic psychoactive substances are making their way into Europe, where the Internet is becoming a big challenge in the fight against illicit drugs, the continent’s drug agency warned Tuesday.

Drug use in Europe remains high even though the consumption of cannabis and cocaine appears to be slowing, as is new heroin use, the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction said.

“New synthetic drugs and patterns of use are appearing, both on the illicit drug market and in the context of non-controlled substances,” the center said. “The Internet presents growing challenges, both as a mechanism for rapid diffusion of new trends and as a burgeoning anonymous marketplace with global reach.”

The center said more chemical substances were emerging on the market, with 73 new psychoactive substances detected in 2012 — compared to just 49 in 2011. Mephedrone, a party drug often called “meow meow” described as a mix between amphetamines, cocaine and Ecstasy, is an example of a new drug that has become a sought-after substance on the illicit stimulant market.