IRELAND IS AMONG the five countries in Europe with the highest rates of cocaine use, according to a new report published by Europol and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.
The European report shows that the consumer market for cocaine among young adults is characterised by relatively high prevalence in Spain, the United Kingdom, Italy, Ireland and Denmark. These five countries alone account for 1.7 million, or 62 per cent, of the estimated 2.7 million users in the ‘last 12 months’ in the 15–34 age group with prevalence levels of between 2.6 per cent and 4.4 percent. The European prevalence rate for ‘last 12 months’ use among young adults stands at 2.1 per cent.
Ireland also ranks high in terms of domestic production of herbal cannabis, showing an increase in the last five years. Almost a quarter of 15 to 64-years olds in the EU, some 80 million individuals, are thought to have tried the drug at least once in their lifetime, some 80. Cannabis use within the last 12 months among young adults is at about one in eight or about 16 million individuals.
The report also suggests that Ireland may be a centre for drug distribution and an entry point for Moroccan resin into Europe. Resin seizures represent about 15 percent of estimated national consumption and it is likely that some of the resin entering Ireland
eventually ends up in the United Kingdom, 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.
Organised crime groups are now more likely to deal in many substances at once and are more likely to join forces, the report found. Drug trafficking is also diversifying, both in terms of the complexity of the routes chosen and the drug types moved along them.
EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström said the findings in the report calls for “increased cooperation at EU level”. “National measures are simply insufficient, no matter how robust they are,” she said.