Europe’s cocaine market is expanding amid “unprecedented levels” of trafficking and “historically high availability,” EU agencies said in a report on Friday, warning that the continent is increasingly becoming a hub for the production and trans-shipment of drugs around the world.
The growth in the European market is driven by high levels of production in South America and new production capabilities inside Europ itself, the joint report by Europol and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) said.
This has resulted in “record levels of drug availability, rising violence and corruption, and greater health problems” across the continent, EMCDDA director Alexis Goosdeel said in a statement.
Cocaine is the second-most-consumed drug in Europe after cannabis, with a market value of around €10.5 billion ($11.1 billion) in 2020, the report said. Around 3.5 million Europeans aged between 13 and 64 reported using the drug in the past year. This could grow even more as new types of “smokable cocaine products” with added health risks appear on the market, it added.