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Seizures data (SZR)

An overview of the data

The tables in this section monitor over time the number of drug seizures and quantities seized by law enforcement agencies (mainly police and customs officials), figures that available for many countries historically over the longer term. Tables include data from the EU member states, Croatia, Turkey and Norway.

Tables SZR-1 to SZR-18 show reported drug seizures by country, where data are available, for the major drug types of interest by both numbers of seizures and quantities seized.

Summary points


Despite annual fluctuations, the overall trend in the number of seizures of cannabis resin is increasing steadily over the period 2003 to 2008 in Europe. The quantity seized has been overall decreasing since 2004 (all-time peak of 1080 tonnes) . In 2009, half of the total number of cannabis resin seizures and three quarters of the quantity seized continued to be reported by Spain (see Table SZR-1 and Table SZR-2).

The number of herbal cannabis seizures in Europe has increased steadily since 2004, doubling by 2009 (see Table SZR-3), The quantity of herbal cannabis seized, has also increased over the same period (see Table SZR-4). The United Kingdom is the EU Member State reporting the most seizures of herbal cannabis, accounting for approximately half of the total number of seizures since 2005. Turkey (42 tonnes), Greece (7 tonnes) and Portugal (5 tonnes) )reported record seizures in 2009. The number of seizures of cannabis plants has increased since 2004, reaching an estimated 29 100 cases in 2009. Countries report the quantity seized either as an estimate of the number of plants seized or by weight. Seizures reported by number of plants increased from 01.7 million in 2004 to about 2.5 million in 2005–07 in Europe, before falling to an estimated 1.2 million in 2008 Available data may point to a decrease in 2008 at European level, but current trends in reported numbers of cannabis plants seized cannot be plotted due to the lack of recent data from the Netherlands, two of the countries a country historically reporting the largest quantities: the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Since 2004, seizures reported by weight of plants have more than trebled, reaching 42 tonnes in 2009, most of which continued to be accounted for by Spain (29 tonnes) and Bulgaria (10 tonnes). (see Table SZR-5 and Table SZR-6).


In Europe, an estimated 59 3000 seizures resulted in the interception of 23.94 tonnes of heroin in 2009, two-thirds of which (16.1 tonnes) was reported by Turkey. The United Kingdom (followed by Spain) continued to report the highest number of seizures. Data for the years 2004–09 from 28 reporting countries show an overall increase in the number of seizures. The overall trend in the quantity of heroin intercepted in Turkey differs from that observed in the European Union, which may be due in part to greater collaboration between Turkish and EU law enforcement agencies. While Turkey reported a doubling in the quantity of heroin seized between 2004 and 2009, the amount seized in the European Union has shown a limited decline during this period, mainly due to decreases reported in Italy and the United Kingdom, the two countries seizing the largest quantities in the European Union (see Table SZR-8 and Table SZR-7).


The number of cocaine seizures in Europe has been rising for the last 20 years, and more notably since 2004 with an increase to an estimated 102 99 000 cases in 2009. The total quantity intercepted peaked in 2006 at 121 tonnes and has declined two-fold since then to an estimated 60 49 tonnes in 2009. This fall is largely accounted for by decreases in the amounts recovered in Spain and Portugal, possibly due to changes in trafficking routes or practices, or changes in law enforcement priorities. In 2009, Spain continued to be the country reporting both the highest number of seizures of cocaine and the largest quantity of the drug seized, about half the total in both cases, in Europe. However, this assessment is preliminary, as recent data are not available for the Netherlands, which in 2007, the last year for which data are available, reported seizing around 10 tonnes of cocaine (see Table SZR-9 and Table SZR-10).


In 2009, an estimated 34 5200 seizures amounting to 10 5.8 tonnes of amphetamine powder and 3 million amphetamine tablets were made in Europe. The number of amphetamine seizures has been fluctuating for the last five years, with a decrease reported in 2008 and 2009. While the number of amphetamine tablets confiscated in Europe has decreased sharply over the period 2004–09 due to falling seizures in Turkey, the quantities of amphetamine powder intercepted have remained stable or Quantities seized have increased in most European countriesover the period 2004–09. However, this assessment is preliminary, as recent data are not available for the Netherlands, which in 2007, the last year for which data are available, reported seizing 2.8 tonnes of amphetamine powder (see Table SZR-11 and Table SZR-12).


In 2009, almost 7 400 seizures of methamphetamine, amounting to about 600 kg of the drug, were reported in Europe. Both the number of seizures and the quantities of methamphetamine seized increased over 2004-09, with a strong increase between 2008 and 2009. Quantities seized doubled between 2008 and 2009, mainly due to increases in the amounts recovered in Sweden and Norway, the main seizing countries in Europe for this drug. Turkey reported methamphetamine seizures for the first time in 2009, ranking third in terms of quantities recovered. (see Table SZR-17 and Table SZR-18).


The number of ecstasy seizures reported in Europe has remained stable between 2004 and 2006, and then declined since then, while quantities seized in most European countries show a downward trend since 2004. In 2009, about 121 000 ecstasy seizures were reported in Europe, resulting in the interception of over 2.14 million ecstasy tablets. However, this is an underestimatea preliminary assessment, as 2009 recent data were are not available for the Netherlands, which reported seizures of 8.4 million tablets in 2007, the last year for which data are available. (see Table SZR-13 and Table SZR-14).

Hallucinogenic substances

The number of LSD seizures increased between 2004 and 2009, while quantities, after a peak in 2005 to 1.8 million units due to record seizures in the United Kingdom, have since been fluctuating at relatively low levels. (see Table SZR-15 and Table SZR-16).

Page last updated: Thursday, 01 September 2011