Scottish adults top world list of cocaine users, says UN

SCOTLAND has the highest levels of adults using cocaine in the world, according to a United Nations report.

The World Drug Report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime said the "annual prevalence of cocaine use" among the adult population in Scotland was 3.7 per cent in 2005 and 2009.

In England it was 3 per cent last year and 2.4 per cent in 2008 and in Spain it was 3 per cent in 2008.

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The report said: "The world's second largest flow of cocaine is directed towards Europe, and this flow has been growing rapidly.

"The largest national cocaine market within Europe is the United Kingdom, followed by Spain, Italy, Germany and France. Cocaine use prevalence levels are higher in the UK and Spain than in the United States.

"Recent data suggest that the rapid growth of the European cocaine market is beginning to level off in some of the biggest national markets such as Italy, Spain and Germany.

"Consumption is still growing in the UK and in some of the smaller European markets, however."

North America is the largest regional cocaine market, with close to 40 per cent of the global cocaine-using population.

The report said: "In 2008, it appears that 196 metric tonnes of pure cocaine were required to satisfy North American demand."

The report, which was released yesterday, also said the global area under opium poppy cultivation declined to 181,400 hectares in 2009, or by 23 per cent, since 2007.

The estimate for global cocaine production fell from 1,024 tonnes in 2007 to 865 tonnes in 2008.

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Globally, the UN agency estimated that between 155 and 250 million people, aged 15 to 64, used illicit substances at least once in 2008 and cannabis users made up the largest number of illicit drug users at between 129 and 190 million people.

"Cannabis remains the most widely consumed drug worldwide," the report said.