Estimated Prevalence of Cocaine Use in the EU

"Surveys suggest that around 18 million adults aged 15-64 in the European Union (5.4 %) have used cocaine at least once in their lifetime. Of those aged 15-34, nearly 3 million (2.4 % of this age group) are estimated to have used the drug in the last year.

"Among the 27 countries that undertook a survey between 2014 and 2018, prevalence of last year cocaine use among young adults ranged from 0.2 % to 5.3 %, with eight countries reporting rates of more than 2.5 % (Figure 8). Of the 12 countries that have conducted surveys since 2017 and reported confidence intervals, five reported higher estimates than their previous survey and seven had stable estimates.

"A statistical analysis of long-term trends in last year use of cocaine among young adults (15-34) is only possible for a small number of countries, among which there is some evidence of increased use. The United Kingdom has observed an upward trend since 2015, reaching 5.3 % in 2018. Upward trends have also been reported by France (2000 to 2017), reaching 3.2 %, and by Finland (2010 to 2018), reaching 1.5 %. Not all trends are upward. Spain has reported a decline in use since 2008, though prevalence in the last two years has been stable, and prevalence in Norway has remained largely stable since 2013. Without notable trends, increases in prevalence between the last two surveys were reported for 2018 by Germany (2.4 % as opposed to 1.2 % in 2015) and Estonia (2.8 % as opposed to 1.3 % in 2008). Similarly, increases were reported for 2017 by Denmark (3.9 % as opposed to 2.4 % in 2013) and Sweden (2.5 % as opposed to 1.2 % in 2013).

"Analysis of municipal wastewater for cocaine residues carried out in a multi-city study complements, but is not directly comparable to, the results from population surveys. A 2019 analysis found the highest mass loads of benzoylecgonine — the main metabolite of cocaine
— in cities in Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

"The most recent data indicate that cocaine is becoming more common in eastern European cities, although detection levels remain low (see Figure 9). Of the 45 cities that have data for 2018 and 2019, 27 reported an increase, 10 a stable situation and 8 a decrease. Increasing longer term trends are observable for most of the 14 cities with data covering the 2011 to 2019 period."

Source: 

European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (2020), European Drug Report 2020: Trends and Developments, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg.
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