Irish Independent

Drug problem here among world's worst

ILLEGAL drug use in Ireland is among the highest in the world, shocking new figures reveal.

We have the highest rate of ecstasy and amphetamine use in Europe and the second highest rate of cocaine abuse.

The figures come from the 46-nation Council of Europe's annual report on the state of organised crime.

It says about 185m people worldwide - 3pc of the global population - use illegal drugs.

Nearly 80pc of them use cannabis, 20pc use ecstasy and amphetamines, 7pc use cocaine and 3pc use heroin.

The report shows the Russian Federation as having the biggest heroin problem, with 2.1pc of the population using the drug. Britain recorded by far the largest heroin seizures in 2002, with 3,929kg impounded.

Britain also seized the most amphetamines, including ecstasy - 1,716kg.

But Ireland has the highest amphetamine use in Europe (1.6pc), followed by the UK and Denmark

Ecstasy use in Ireland, at 3.4pc, is among the highest in the world, followed by the Czech Republic (2.5pc) and the UK (2pc).

Drug trafficking is considered a major "primary problem", in terms of number of recorded cases, in Albania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Switzerland, Turkey and the UK.

The situation is now so bad that Europe is the most profitable market in the world for production and trafficking of drugs.

Conor Sweeney

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