UK has highest rates of cocaine use and gonorrhoea in Europe

The UK is a European hotspot for cocaine use and gonorrhoea, a new report suggests.

Across Europe, 1.9% of young adults aged 15 to 34 report using cocaine in the last year. But in the UK this figure stands at 4.2%, according to the Health at a Glance: Europe 2016 report from the European Commission and the OECD.

“Cocaine is the most commonly used illicit stimulant in Europe,” the authors wrote. “About 2% of young adults aged 15 to 34 report having used cocaine in the last year.

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

Meanwhile in 2014, reported rates of gonorrhoea were highest in the UK, the authors found. Out of every 100,000 people in the British population, 60 were found to have the sexually transmitted infection – compared with a European average of 20 cases per 100,000 people.

Overall the authors conclude that life expectancy across Europe has increased but many are spending their additional years in ill health.

Vytenis Andriukaitis, European commissioner for health and food safety, said: “The Health At A Glance report provides useful information for member states to shape their actions on health across all policies. It shows that in the EU many people die every year from potentially avoidable diseases linked to risk factors such as smoking or obesity.”