Europe’s Cocaine Crisis

A recent report by The Guardian uncovered that the purity of street cocaine throughout Europe is at its highest level in a decade and the sum of people seeking treatment for cocaine use has increased. The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) found that the price of cocaine has continued to remain stable across the continent and could be a contributing factor.

Alarmingly, there has been a major rise in first time admissions to specialist treatments relating to cocaine abuse. A total of 30,300 people entered treatment in 2016 for the first time, more than a fifth of the figure in 2014. An estimated 17 million European adults aged 15 – 64 have tried cocaine during their life time, making the dangerous substance the most commonly abused illicit drug in Europe.


Image title


The study highlighted that the UK had the highest rate of cocaine use, with 4% of the UK population between 15 – 34 years old having used cocaine in the past year. The UK was followed by the Netherlands (3.7%), Spain (3%) and Ireland (2.9%). Overall it is estimated that 92 million people in Europe have tried illegal drugs in their lifetime.

Discussing the findings, EMCDDA director Alexis Goosdeal explained that the statistics are a consequence of increased cocaine production in South America and stated, “These changes underline the growing importance of providing effective prevention, treatment and harm-reduction interventions for cocaine users.” In 2016, over 7,929 deaths in Europe were a result of an overdose that involved one or more illegal drug. From this figure, 34% occurred in the UK and 15% in Germany which is half of the European total population when combined.

As the primary manufacturer of Biochip Array Technology, our cutting-edge multiplex testing capabilities offer rapid and accurate drug screening. Utilising our revolutionary Biochip Array Technology, the Evidence MultiSTAT is a fully automated analyser that enables on-site simultaneous detection of up to 21 classical, prescription and synthetic drugs from a single sample, including cocaine metabolite (BZG) and other common drugs of abuse. With up to 132 tests per hour and results reported in under 20 minutes, the Evidence MultiSTAT has changed the landscape of drug detection forever.


For more information about the Evidence MultiSTAT and our unrivalled drugs of abuse test menu, email or visit

Share your thoughts

Request Demo