UK Singled Out As Cocaine Capital Of Europe In New Report
A new report from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction has singled out the UK as 'the European country that has been most associated with crack use', branding it a 'growing concern'.
The report - which provides a detailed analysis of the latest data on 'the drug situation and responses to it' across the European Union, Norway and Turkey - found that nearly five per cent of the UK's 15-34-year-olds have used cocaine in the last 12 months, and that three per cent of schoolchildren aged 15-16 have tried the drug.
More than one in 10 (10.7 per cent) UK adults are believed to have tried the drug at least once in their lifetime, a figure that is double the EU average of 5.4 per cent.
What's more, almost a third (28 per cent) of those being treated for cocaine addiction across Europe were in the UK, accounting for 20,290 out of 72,424.
The current data on cocaine showed that both the number of seizures and the volumes seized are at an all-time high in Europe, supposedly due to 'increased availability'.
Another factor listed is the 'Uberisation' of the industry, thanks to a rise in users ordering drugs at the click of their smartphone.
This means smaller groups are able to access the competitive market, and are able to distribute drugs more easily.
"These new methods appear to reflect to some extent the type of disruption seen in other areas facilitated by the common use of smartphones - a potential 'Uberisation' of the cocaine trade - a competitive market in which sellers compete by offering additional services such as fast and flexible delivery options," the report says.
The EU's home affairs chief Dimitris Avramopoulos said: "The drugs situation is worsening in many parts of the world and sadly the EU is no exception.
"This year's report presents a warning picture. There is a record level of illicit drug seizures.
"On the one hand this shows that law enforcement is doing a good job. On the other it shows how many people can access drugs."
The report compared survey data from all 28 EU countries, which has been collected over the last decade. UK figures come from 2017, but only come from England and Wales due to the devolution of health services.
Elsewhere in the report, figures also showed that the UK has the worst instances of 'high risk opiod use', with 8.4 people per every thousand of the population using, while 30 per cent of British adults have tried cannabis at least once during their life.
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