CANNABIS abuse in the European Union is on the rise, as is the number of people seeking help in kicking their addiction to the drug.
Georges Estievernart, director of the European Drugs Observatory, told the Palma drugs convention yesterday that there is a growing acceptancy of cannabis in European society, while over the past three years, the use of designer drugs, in particular ecstasy has fallen.

He also said that heroin abuse has levelled out. Estievernart told delegates that this year's international convention in Majorca, comes at a very important time for Europe with ten new state about to join the European Union. He pointed out that Russia is again the primary market for opium grown in Afghanistan. There are 2.5 million opium users in Russia, more than the 1.5 million in the rest of the EU states put together.

He said that now is the perfect time for EU governments to tighten their drug laws and bring all member states into line. “We can't fight a common problem if we've all got different laws,” he said.

The convention will also be discussing over the next few days what action to take against the countries producing and manufacturing most of the drugs. “We know what's being produced and where, we just don't know what action to take,” United Nations drug tzar Antonio María Costa said.

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