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Drug use in Belgium - Statistics & Facts

Over the last ten years, the overall number of drug-related crimes increased in Belgium. In 2018, the Belgian Federal Police registered over 58 thousand drug-related crimes. Although it is impossible to assess the full extent of drug trafficking, figures provided by the Belgian authorities do paint a general picture. From 2008 to 2019, cases of drug imports and exports decreased steadily. Nonetheless, over 44 thousand kilograms of cocaine and less than 2 thousand kilograms of cannabis were seized by Belgian authorities in 2017. Although cannabis is seized in much lesser quantities, the frequency was far more than for any other drugs. For instance, while cocaine was the most reported drug in quantity, 4.6 thousand seizures were reported, whereas over 34 thousand were registered for cannabis. Besides, Belgium’s direct neighbor, the Netherlands, counts over a hundred municipalities with coffeeshops where cannabis can be purchased.

Although drug trafficking has a much wider scale than dealing, it is interesting to see that the number of drug dealing offenses stayed more or less the same over the years. Indeed, drug dealing reports ranged from 6 to 8 thousand over the last ten years. The Belgian Federal Police notably recorded 7.8 thousand cases in 2018. With an increase in drug trafficking and a steady number of dealing offenses, it comes as no surprise that the number of drug possession cases increased. In 2018, roughly 43 thousand drug possession reports were filed by Belgian authorities. The most consumed illegal drug in Belgium was cannabis. Drug abuse, on the other hand, seemed to decrease in Belgium. According to police reports, cases of drug abuse dropped from over 12 thousand cases in 2008 to just over a thousand cases in 2018.

From a regional perspective, most drug dealing or possession cases were reported in Flanders. In this region, over a thousand cases of drug production were also filed in 2018. However, Wallonia was in second place in terms of drug dealing, whereas Brussels-Capital was the same for drug possession. Ultimately, figures provide a general picture of drug trafficking in Belgium. Drug routes are ever-changing, and organized crime is constantly evolving.

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