A file photo of 300kg of cocaine seized at the Findel airport in November 2018, estimated to have a €45 million street value
Photo: Administration des douanes et accises
While Luxembourg has seen a longitudinal downward trend in the high-risk usage of illicit drugs, there has been an increase in the proportion of cocaine users among those considered high-risk users.
These were a couple of the findings in the 2019 Relis national drug report, which reveals usage trends and developments in Luxembourg.
Per 1,000 inhabitants in the general population (which covers ages 15-64), recent data shows an estimated 5.8 users of illicit drugs--a downward trend, given that in 2000 this figure was 9 users per 1,000 inhabitants.
General population usage
The 2014 European Health Interview Survey (EHIS), which compares across member states variables such as socio-economic background, health determinants, health status and healthcare use, reveal that the grand duchy’s general population illicit drug use is below the EU average.
Cannabis, which has been legally accessible for medical purposes since 2018, is the most commonly used drug, with 4.9% of the total population aged 15-64 using it at least once per year. For young adults (ages 15-34) and young scholars (15-18), this figure rises to 9.8% and 11.1% respectively. Some 27% of youngsters aged 15-18 have used cannibas at least once in their lifetime.
The most commonly used drug within the general population after cannibas is cocaine, 2.5% having used it at least once in their lifetimes. Next most prevalent amongst the general population were hallucinogens which includes, for example, magic mushrooms, with a 2.2% usage rate.
Cannabis represented 75% of total drug seizures by officials in the grand duchy in 2018, totaling some 216kg that year. While the number of cocaine seizures in 2018 was slightly less year-on-year, a record of nearly 347kg of cocaine was seized that year. According to the health ministry, the quality of both drugs has seen an increase as well.
Age, gender differences
While cocaine was the most prevalent illicit drug used at least once in a lifetime, data for the 15-34 age bracket reveals a preference of magic mushrooms and ecstasy/MDMA over cocaine.
In terms of recent usage, that is usage the year prior to the data collection, magic mushrooms (0.6%) and LSD (0.6%) were the most popular illicit drugs for 15-18-year-olds, whereas the broader young adults group (aged 15-34 years) tended to use slightly more cocaine than the other age brackets (0.6%) followed by LSD (0.4%).
For 15-18-year-olds, cannabis usage was slightly higher for boys than girls. While lifetime prevalence has decreased slightly over roughly the past decade (34% in 2006 compared to 30% in 2018), girls’ usage was relatively stable (25% to 24% over the same window). There was a slight increase for both genders as well for current (last month) usage.
For more information about drug treatment or prevention, or to read the Relis report, visit the health ministry website.