"Cannabis is the most common illicit substance used by the Dutch adult general population aged 15-64 years, followed at a distance by MDMA/ecstasy and cocaine. The gender gap regarding cannabis use remains: last year prevalence of cannabis use among young adults was approximately twice as high among males as among females. The use of all illicit drugs is concentrated among young adults aged 15-34 years.

"The increasing trend in ecstasy use seems to have halted, at least in the general population, but prevalence rates remain high among young adults. In school-age children, the use of ecstasy decreased between 2015 and 2017. Available data suggest an increase in recent years in cocaine and amphetamine use among young adults in particular and in cocaine use among the general population. There is also some evidence that rates of cocaine use increased among Amsterdam clubgoers.

"Studies among other sub-groups of young people indicate that the use of illicit substances is more common in recreational settings, especially in clubs and at festivals. Moreover, some new psychoactive substances (NPS), such as 4-fluoroamphetamine (4-FA), have gained popularity among this sub-group, although use of other NPS remains low.

"Wastewater analyses can complement the results from population surveys, by providing data on drug use at a municipal level, based on the levels of illicit drugs and their metabolites found in wastewater. As part of the Europe-wide Sewage Analysis Core Group Europe (SCORE) analyses, analysis of wastewater in Eindhoven indicates that cocaine use remained stable between 2017 and 2018. In contrast, the results for Amsterdam point to an increase in cocaine use. The use of MDMA and cocaine seems to be more common in Amsterdam and Eindhoven than in Utrecht."


European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (2019), The Netherlands, Country Drug Report 2019, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg.