Cocaine increasingly popular both in Europe and in Belgium

Thursday, 07 June 2018 23:12
Cocaine increasingly popular both in Europe and in Belgium © Belga
Cocaine is the most widely consumed illegal stimulant drug in Europe.
Approximately 2.3 million EU young people, from 15 to 34 years old, consumed it last year, as per a report of the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) published Thursday. Belgium stands out particularly, since Antwerpen and Brussels are among the European cities in which sewage contains the highest amounts of cocaine residues.

The report estimates at 17 million the number of adults between 15 and 64, that is 5.1% of this age group population, who have consumed cocaine at least once. Cocaine is especially popular in Western and Southern Europe.

Besides an increasing production of coke and cocaine in Latin America, the European Agency’s analysis confirms that the cocaine market is burgeoning in Europe. This substance, which has devastating effects on health, appears to be more and more easily available. In 2016, 98,000 seizures were carried out in the EU, for a total of 70.9 tons of cocaine. In 2015, the number of seizures still reached a high 90,000.

Another observation: in spite of a stable price, its degree of purity has increased in 2016, to reach its highest level in 10 years.

According to a recent study, the cities where sewage is the most loaded with cocaine are located in Belgium (Antwerpen especially, but also Brussels), in the Netherlands, Spain and the UK. Between 2015 and 2017, the concentrations increased in 26 out of the 31 cities that have been checked. They are generally a lot lower in Eastern European cities.

More generally, the report of the Lisbon-based institution describes a “dynamic drug market,” which adjusts quickly in reaction to measures taken by the authorities and specially to controls. The publication can be consulted on the web site www.emcdda.europa.eu.

Christopher Vincent 
The Brussels Times
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