Ireland among heaviest users of cocaine in Europe

Survey finds 7% of people between 15 and 64 have tried the drug at some stage

Cocaine use is ’relatively high’ in Ireland, particularly among younger people. Photograph: Getty Images

Cocaine use is ’relatively high’ in Ireland, particularly among younger people. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Ireland remains among the biggest users of cocaine in Europe, a new report confirms.

Almost seven in every 100 of the general population here, aged between 15 and 64, have tried the drug at some stage, the study shows.

And nearly 3 per cent of younger adults - aged between 15 and 34 years - tried cocaine over the past year. The European average is just under 2 per cent.

While the drug was found to be the most commonly used illicit stimulant in Europe, most users are found in a “relatively small” number of countries.

The figures are contained in the European Drug Report 2013, produced by European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).

The agency says cocaine use is “relatively high” in Ireland, particularly among younger people.

The country is ranked among the UK, Spain, Italy, and Denmark at the top of the European cocaine use league table.

The study also shows 4.5 per cent of the general population have used amphetamines at some time in their life, while fewer han 1 per cent of young adults had done so in the last 12 months.

Ecstasy has been taken by nearly 7 per cent of people, but the figure was also much lower for younger people over the last year, at below 1 per cent.

About a quarter (25.3 per cent) of the population has used cannabis. One in 10 younger adults have taken the drug over the last year.

The report also estimates between six and eight cases of problem opioid use per 1,000 of the population.

Earlier this year, a study by Europol and the EMCDDA found that Ireland, Spain, UK, Italy, and Denmark are home to 1.7 million - or six out of 10 - of Europe’s 2.7 million recent cocaine users, aged between 15 and 34 years.

It also named and shamed Ireland as a hot-bed for Vietnamese and Chinese organised crime gangs cultivating home-grown cannabis and for topping the poll for use of new drugs or so-called “legal highs”.

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