Research shows that Ireland has one of the highest prevalences of cocaine use in Europe
Over a four year period, Ireland saw a 90% jump in new treatments for cocaine use.
Research that was conducted by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Emcdda) has shown that Ireland is one of five member states with the highest prevalence of cocaine use.
The most recent EU-level estimate suggests that around 2.3 million young adults (aged 15-34 years) used cocaine in the last year (1.9 % of this age group), with national estimates ranging from 0.2 % to 4.0 %.
The countries with the highest prevalence of cocaine use in Europe include Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom, with prevalence estimates of 2.5 % or more.
Cocaine is the main stimulant used in this young adult group (ahead of MDMA and amphetamines) in a number of countries, mainly in southern and western Europe.
Aside from this, Ireland recorded a 90% jump in new treatments for cocaine use over a four year period years, from 297 in 2012 to 568 in 2016. Cocaine-related deaths more than doubled too, from 21 in 2010 to 44 in 2015.
Elsewhere, increases in the number of first-time treatment entrants for crack cocaine between 2014 and 2016 were reported in Belgium, Ireland, France, Italy and the United Kingdom to 44 in 2015.
The report also states that in 2016, the quantity of cocaine seized worldwide had reached the “highest level ever reported” and that Europe is experiencing a "surge" in the drug market.
Increased levels of production, an expansion in the number of trafficking gangs, improved communication, and new trafficking routes are some of the factors attributed to this surge.