Tuesday

30th May 2017

Cocaine consumption on the rise in the EU

  • An estimated 4.5 million Europeans used cocaine in 2006 (Photo: US federal government)

Cannabis remains the most widespread drug amongst Europeans but its levels of consumption might have reached a peak, unlike the use of cocaine which has shot up over the past year, a fresh study shows.

"Today's report reveals that drug use has stabilised in a number of important areas, albeit at historically high levels," said Wolfgang Goetz, the director of the Lisbon-based European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), when presenting this year's findings on Thursday (22 November).

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

He was referring particularly to the use of cannabis and heroine, with the latter showing a decline in consumption in some European countries.

On the other hand, cocaine as the second most frequently used drug, has seen a rise by around a million users over the past year, with an estimated 4.5 million Europeans reported as having used cocaine in 2006.

Although Mr Goetz suggested the rise could partially be explained by more reliable statistics, the EMCDDA still highlighted the urgency of the problem, with the highest levels of cocaine found in Britain and Spain and the biggest increases in Denmark and Italy.

A total of 107 tonnes of the drug was recovered in 2005, with Spain and Portugal featuring as the main points of entry into Europe.

Overall, around 7,000 to 8,000 people in the EU's 27 member states and Norway died due to drug-related harm in 2005, as the last year for which data was available. The highest increase was recorded in Greece, Austria, Portugal and Finland.

No to cannabis

The drugs monitoring centre pointed out that cannabis remains frequently used by young people, especially in Spain, the Czech Republic, France and Italy.

Around 70 million Europeans - nearly a quarter of all adults in the 27-member bloc – say they have tried the drug at least once in their life and 23 million people used it last year, according to the report.

When presenting the figures, Mr Goetz said that there were more reports on health problems related to the consumption of cannabis "and that's why we are particularly concerned about the estimated 3 million Europeans who use it daily."

On the other hand, the Italian leftist MEP Giusto Catania, the vice-president of the civil rights committee of the European Parliament, suggested the cannabis statistics should be evaluated in the context of existing national laws in the EU.

"The consumption of cannabis in the US is much higher than in the EU and we know that the American laws are much stricter. On the other hand, the Netherlands with its liberal laws records levels lower than the EU average. So it's clear that tough legislation does not always work and lead to lower consumption," he said.

But Carel Edwards, the head of European Commission's unit on Coordination of antidrugs policy noted that EU justice commissioner Franco Frattini is strongly against legalisation of the drug as a possible alternative route.

Investigation

How the Italian mafia found a Dutch home

One of the biggest mafia trials in Europe in recent years is about to end. Members of the Crupi clan are accused of smuggling vast amounts of cocaine from South America to Italy, using the Netherlands as their main hub.

Parents of EU children win right to stay

Countries cannot automatically refuse residence to parents of EU children simply because the other parent could care for the minor, the EU's top court ruled on Wednesday.

EU parliament shelves NGO funding proposal

The report, which aimed to improve scrutiny on the EU's financing of civil society, was postponed after Hungary's prime minister, Viktor Orban, compared it to a controversial Hungarian bill.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhat's Going on in Catalonia? Join the Debate on 8 June
  2. Swedish EnterprisesDo We Need a More Social Europe? A Lively Debate Awaits You on 7 June
  3. Centre Maurits CoppietersDiscover the Role of Feminism in the Peripheries of Europe on 9 June
  4. Malta EU 2017EU Group Launched to Focus on Priorities and Policies Concerning Children
  5. UNICEFChild Alert on Myanmar: Fruits of Rapid Development yet to Reach Remote Regions
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  7. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  8. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  9. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  10. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  11. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  12. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade

Latest News

  1. Nouvelles suspicions sur le groupe de Le Pen au Parlement européen
  2. EU sets out demands on post-Brexit people's rights
  3. IT security system risks EU fundamental rights
  4. Macron and Putin hold uneasy first talks
  5. From Greece to Scotland, we stand by Europe
  6. Juncker keen to build EU 'bridge' to Trump
  7. Ministers water down post-Dieselgate reform
  8. Club de combat: des espions russes recherchent des recrues européennes