The consumption of cocaine is on the rise in Europe, while the production of other drugs is also increasing on the continent, according to a report by the European Union's drug monitoring agency published yesterday.
An estimated 17 million European adults have tried cocaine at some point in their lives, including around 2.3 million young adults who used it in the last year, according to the report by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).
Furthermore, the cocaine available in Europe has reached its highest level of purity in the last decade, according to the director of the agency, Alexis Goosdeel.
"Europe is now experiencing the consequences of increased cocaine production in Latin America," Goosdeel said, noting that wastewater analysis in 31 cities across Europe indicated that usage had gone up year-on-year in 26 of those cities.
There has also been an increase in the detection of labs producing synthetic drugs such as MDMA - known commercially as ecstasy - according to the report, which is based on data from 2016.
While fewer new substances are being identified in Europe, those being detected "are becoming more and more potent and therefore dangerous," according to EU Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos.
Meanwhile, cannabis remains the most widely used illicit drug in Europe, with around 1 per cent of European adults using it on an almost daily basis, the EMCDDA found.
The growing legalization of cannabis in parts of the Americas - including a change in Canadian law expected on Thursday - could further pose a challenge to Europe, the agency noted.