UK worst for cocaine use, study suggests

Young people in the UK consume more cocaine than other countries in Europe, according to a new report.

A study by the European Commission and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, found that 4.2 per cent of 15 to 34-year-olds in the UK used cocaine in 2014.

The average for this group in European Union countries was just 1.9 per cent.


Alarmingly, the UK was one of only seven countries to have a consumption rate above two per cent.

Spain and The Netherlands – countries with a liberal stance on drugs – were next, with 3.3 per cent and 3 per cent respectively.

Twenty countries had a consumption rate of below two per cent, and nine had a rate of under 0.5 per cent.

Drug deaths

The report follows news that drug-related deaths reached a record high in England and Wales last year, with deaths involving cocaine noticeably high.

Last year, there were 320 deaths involving the drug, up from 247 in 2014. The number has increased for four consecutive years.

Cocaine is the most commonly used illegal drug in Europe, and in Britain it is a Class A drug, meaning it is illegal to possess or supply it.


The penalty for possession is up to seven years in prison, while supply can result in a life sentence or an unlimited fine.

Using cocaine can cause heart attacks and convulsions, with regular use resulting in depression and anxiety.