More Of Britain's Youths Take Cocaine And Ecstasy Than In Any Other European Country

Getty Images

Britain has the highest rate of cocaine, amphetamines and ecstasy use among young adults in Europe, a report indicates.

Around one in 24 (4.2%) people aged between 15 and 34 in the UK admitted taking the drug in the last 12 months, figures for 2013/14 showed.

This was the largest proportion of all countries for which statistics were available, analysis by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) showed.

It is almost 1% above Spain, which was second highest with 3.3% of youngsters taking cocaine in the previous year, and more than double the EU average of 1.9%.

The finding was one of a series of figures showing that the UK has some of the highest rates of drug use in Europe.

The report also showed that:

:: Nearly one in 10 people (9.5%) in the UK aged between 15 and 64 have taken cocaine in their lifetime - the second highest in Europe

:: One in nine (11.1%) have used amphetamines at some point - the highest in Europe. The prevalence in the last year (1.5%) was exceeded by several other countries

:: Close to a 10th (9.3%) of UK adults have taken ecstasy - the highest in Europe. The proportion of young people who took the party drug in the previous year, 3%, was joint second highest

Health officials insist the long-term trend for drug use is falling.

Rosanna O'Connor, director of alcohol, drugs and tobacco at Public Health England, said: "Drug use continues to be considerably lower than 10 to 15 years ago and this is particularly true for the more harmful drugs like heroin and crack.

"Public Health England will continue to be vigilant and work with national and local partners to raise awareness of the harms, provide effective prevention as well as drug recovery services for those who need them."