Britain has the highest rate of cocaine use among young adults in Europe, a report indicates.
About one in 24 (4.2 per cent) of people between 15 and 34 in the UK admitted taking the drug in the last 12 months, figures for 2013/14 showed. This was the largest proportion of all countries for which statistics were available, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) found.
It is almost 1 per cent above Spain, second highest with 3.3 per cent of youngsters taking cocaine, and more than double the EU average of 1.9 per cent. The finding was one of a series of figures showing that the UK has some of the highest rates of drug use in Europe.
The report also showed that nearly one in 10 people (9.5 per cent) in the UK aged from 15 and 64 have taken cocaine, the second highest level in Europe; one in nine (11.1 per cent) have used amphetamines, the highest in Europe; and close to a 10th (9.3 per cent) of UK adults have taken ecstasy, the highest in Europe. The proportion of young people who took the party drug in the previous year, 3 per cent, was joint second highest
Health officials insist the long-term trend for drug use is falling. Rosanna O’Connor, director of alcohol, drugs and tobacco at Public Health England, said: “Drug use continues to be considerably lower than 10 to 15 years ago and this is particularly true for the more harmful drugs like heroin and crack. Public Health England will continue to be vigilant and work with national and local partners to raise awareness of the harms, provide effective prevention as well as drug recovery services for those who need them.”
The report also found that social media and mobile apps are playing an increasing role in the drugs market. They are being used to trade illicit substances but also for marketing and as a domain for users to share their experiences.
Dimitris Avramopoulos, European Commissioner for migration, home affairs and citizenship, said: “The report shows that we are confronted with a rapidly changing, globalised drug market and, therefore, we need to be united, swift and determined in our response.”
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