Scratch & sniff: Britain tops Europe for cocaine use & gonorrhea cases

FILE PHOTO © Edwin Montilva
Britain has been named the European capital of cocaine consumption and gonorrhea, according to a new report.

Research by the European Commission and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows the number of young Brits taking cocaine is higher than any other country in the EU.

In Europe the number of adults between the ages of 15 and 34 taking cocaine is just under 2 percent, but in Britain the figure stands at 4.2 percent.

“Cocaine is the most commonly used illicit stimulant in Europe,” the ‘Health At A Glance: Europe 2016’ report says.

“The percentage of young adults consuming cocaine is highest in the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands with 3 percent or more of young adults having used cocaine at least once in the last year.”

In May, London was found to be the highest cocaine-consuming city in Europe, at 909mg per 1,000 people in 2015 (up from 737mg in 2014). The closest usage levels come from Amsterdam, where 642mg of the drug are taken every 1,000 people. However, Europe’s drug monitor noted that, when weekend samples alone are taken into account, London beats all records by consuming 1,044mg of cocaine per 1,000 people.

However, it’s not just drug consumption that Britain outstrips its European neighbors for.

Rates of gonorrhea infections in Britain are 200 percent higher when compared with the EU average. Sixty in every 100,000 Brits were found to suffer from the condition compared to 20 per 100,000 in Europe.

“We need to do more to raise awareness about sexually-transmitted infections and how they can be prevented, especially the effectiveness of using condoms,” said a Department of Health spokesman.

“But we are already seeing progress, as between 2011 and 2015 the number of people attending sexual health services in the UK increased by 28 per cent.”

Earlier this year, medical experts warned Britain was heading towards a “sexual health crisis” as cases of both gonorrhea and syphilis were on the rise.

“The government and local authorities now need to do everything they can to fully fund sexual health services and make STI testing as simple and accessible as possible,” Terence Higgins Trust medical director Dr. Michael Brady said at the time.

“We cannot expect to avoid a sexual health crisis in England unless we invest in effective STI testing, treatment and prevention services in a range of settings, and unless all young people receive mandatory and high quality Sex and Relationships Education in all schools.”