Thursday

22nd Feb 2018

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).

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

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.

EU posted workers face hurdles

Negotiations among the EU institutions will start soon, but could be difficult on several issues - like the inclusion of the transport sector or the duration of a posting.

EU overcomes divisions on posted workers

After a 12-hour discussion, EU employment ministers struck a compromise to reform the rules on workers posted in another country. The principle of equal pay for equal work has been adopted but the transport sector will get special treatment.

Investigation

How Romania became an EU workers' rights 'guinea pig'

"We are paid as if we were a country of unqualified workers". Union leaders and labour rights experts reveal, in figures, the catastrophic consequences of the laws that have turned Romania into the country of the working poor.

Focus

EU court bars tests for gay asylum seekers

Authorities in EU countries can no longer impose controversial psychological tests to determine whether an aslyum seeker is telling the truth about their homosexuality.

News in Brief

  1. Belgian PM to host 11 EU leaders ahead of summit
  2. Tusk all but rules out pan-EU candidates in 2019 elections
  3. Tusk: EU budget agreed before 2019 elections 'unrealistic'
  4. Commission fines car cartels €546m
  5. Juncker: 'nothing' wrong in Katainen meeting Barroso
  6. Juncker appoints new head of cabinet
  7. MEPs decide not to veto fossil fuel projects list
  8. Factory relocation risks drawing Vestager into Italian election

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Aid & Trade LondonJoin Thousands of Stakeholders of the Global Aid Industry at Aid & Trade London
  2. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.European Free Alliance Joins MHRMI to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  3. International Climate ShowSupporting Start-Ups & SMEs in the Energy Transition. 21 February in Brussels
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism Year to Promote Business and Mutual Ties
  5. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  6. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  8. EPSUMovie Premiere: 'Up to The Last Drop' - 22 February, Brussels
  9. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  10. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  12. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP

Latest News

  1. UK seeks flexible transition length after Brexit
  2. Commission defence of Barroso meeting leaves 'discrepancies'
  3. MEPs bar WMD and killer robots from new EU arms fund
  4. Canete gets EU parliament pension while still commissioner
  5. Bank of Latvia sends deputy to ECB amid bribery probe
  6. We are not (yet) one people
  7. Intellectual property protection - the cure for Europe's ills
  8. Eastern states push back at rule of law conditions on funds