Britain is cocaine hub of Europe, report says

Source: Xinhua| 2018-06-10 17:04:15|Editor: Lu Hui
Video PlayerClose

LONDON, June 10 (Xinhua) -- Cocaine use among young people in England and Wales is the highest in Europe, with purity of the drug also at the highest level in a decade, according to a new report.

The two are cocaine hubs in a continent where there is growing evidence of increased availability of the Class A drug, a report by the Europe Union (EU) drugs agency warns.

The number of people of seeking treatment for use of the drug is also rising, according to the annual overview of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).

Cocaine is the most commonly used illegal drug in Europe, with 2.3 million people aged 15 to 34 having used the drug in the past year, according to the report.

Four percent of Brits aged 16 to 34 have taken cocaine in the past year, while 11.5 percent have used cannabis and 2.6 percent MDMA, also known as ecstasy.

Cannabis, MDMA and amphetamines use are bigger problems elsewhere on the continent, and cannabis remains the most popular drug.

The creators of the report say cocaine is increasingly available and reached its highest purity in ten years in 2016. One expert said Europe must work together to crack down on drug use.

Based on figures from 2016 or later, the drug report has revealed detailed information about drug problems in the 28 EU countries plus Norway and Turkey.

Ian Hamilton, a substance abuse expert at the University of York said, "This seems to be something to do with the price coming down and the strength going up."

"As with any product -- legal or illegal -- as the price comes down it becomes more popular," he said. "And the fact that we're an island makes it easier to import."

"Cocaine's not as dangerous as some other drugs but it has its relative dangers -- it depends on where you're taking it, who you're taking it with and how much you're taking," he said.

"The real danger is that not knowing how strong it is," he said. "Especially if people are naive or younger they might not find out how strong it is until it's too late."

Meanwhile, the report also noted that, while cannabis is still the most widely used drug in the continent, Europe's cocaine market is "buoyant" and the drug is increasingly available.