For the first time since 1995, there has been a decline in cocaine use in Europe, according to the European Union's drug monitoring agency.
The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) announced the release of their 2011 report on trends in drug use and addiction in EU member states. The annual publication reveals that, while the market remains relatively stable, cocaine use declined over the last year.
In particular, countries with the highest rates of cocaine usage, including Spain, Italy and the UK, saw decreases in consumption of the drug by young adults.
The report suggests that the economic crisis and the resulting high rates of unemployment may have driven down cocaine use. While the price of the drug has fallen in Europe over the last 20 years, it is still more expensive than in the U.S., according to the UN’s 2011 World Drug Report.
However, it is far too early to determine whether Europe's "cocaine bubble" has indeed burst. Furthermore, if usage is on the decline in Europe as it has been in the U.S. for nearly 30 years, it is unlikely to have significant effects on the quantity of cocaine consumed or the core of regular users.
Image, above, shows cocaine trafficking routes to Europe.