People in Ireland have one of the highest cocaine use rates in Europe, according to a new study.
The EU drug marketing report shows Ireland is among a “handful” of countries where cocaine use remains “relatively high,” particularly among young adults.
The reports claims that Spain, the UK, Italy, and Denmark also have high rates of cocaine use.
Cocaine is the most popular drug in Europe after cannabis. An estimated 5 percent of the population aged between 5 and 64 have tried the drug at least once, the findings show.
The Europol and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) report warns “Labelled at one point as the ‘champagne of drugs’ because of its high price and associations with the rich and famous, cocaine snorted in powder form has found acceptance amongst drug users in recreational settings.
“However, the numbers of primary cocaine users in treatment belie the drug’s benign image.”
The research also shows that Ireland is being used as a gateway for cannabis smuggling from Morocco into Europe.
Key findings of the report include:
• Ireland is used by Vietnamese and Chinese organized crime gangs cultivating home-grown cannabis.
• The State has the highest rate of use of new drugs or so-called “legal highs.”
• Polish and Lithuanian gangs are reportedly trafficking drugs from the Netherlands into Ireland.
The findings state Ireland remains a “north west gateway” for cannabis resin into Europe.
“Average seizure sizes greater than 1kg suggest that Ireland is also an entry point for Moroccan resin into Europe,” the report states.
“Resin seizures represent about 15 per cent of estimated national consumption; it is likely that some of the resin entering Ireland eventually ends up in the UK, where the market for resin, although smaller than the market for herb, is still rather large, estimated to be about seven times the size of the Irish market.”
“Chinese nationals have also been reported to grow cannabis commercially in countries including Ireland and the United Kingdom,” the report adds.