Cocaine Addiction in Europe

Cocaine is the second most popular illegal recreational drug in Europe next to marijuana. Ever since the mid-1990s, cocaine addiction has been on the rise. Spain and Portugal are the main entry points of cocaine which enters directly by shipment across the Atlantic or by air to the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, France, Germany, and the UK. According to the EMCDDA, from 2001-2006, there have been 72,700 cases of seizures as a result of cocaine with 58% in Spain. 12 million people have used cocaine at least once in their lifetime between the ages of 15-64 mostly in Spain, Italy, Denmark, the UK, and Ireland. Unfortunately, Europe suffers a lack of resources to be able to treat cocaine addiction but the fight is still going strong.

EMCDDA also states that 13% of people from ages 16-29 use cocaine when visiting pubs or wine bars. Cocaine comes with deadly results in which injection can risk infection and when combined with opioids can cause an overdose. When combined with alcohol, blood levels are increased by 30% which causes them to want to drink longer and then snort more cocaine into their system.

Cardiovascular and neurological problems can come from cocaine and death can occur when combined with smoking and drinking. A survey in Ireland says that weight loss, STIs, heart conditions, amputations, and risk taking are just few of the dangerous consequences.

In outpatient centers, EMCDDA says that 94% have reported a demand in cocaine treatment. In 2006, it was said that there was low availability and accessibility in Europe for treatment options. Italy suffers difficulties in providing short-term residential care and psychosocial interventions because of no resources, organizational problems, and no interventions.

There are some attempts at treating cocaine addiction in Europe. In 2007, Spain came up with a specific national action plan and Ireland came up with different programs for groups like intranasal cocaine users, polydrug users, and women and sex workers. There are experimental drugs to help with consumption and cravings like baclofen, tiagabine, and topiramate. Member States are trying to push for approaches towards harm reduction by offering advice and information to at-risk youth. The European Foundation of Drug Helplines raise awareness and provide support and information on dangerous health risks of cocaine. More must be done in Europe to treat cocaine addiction so that the staggering bad health statistics do not rise up for years to come.


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