Cocaine use 'is relatively high'
Ireland remains among the biggest users of cocaine in Europe, a new report confirms.
Almost seven in every 100 of the general population, aged between 15 and 64, have tried the drug at some stage, the study showed.
And nearly 3% of younger adults - aged between 15 and 34 - tried cocaine over the past year. The European average is just less than 2%.
While the drug was found to be the most commonly used illicit stimulant in Europe, most users are found in a "relatively small" number of countries.
The figures are contained in the European Drug Report 2013, produced by European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).
The agency says cocaine use is "relatively high" in Ireland, particularly among younger people. The country is ranked among the UK, Spain, Italy, and Denmark at the top of the European cocaine use league table.
The study also shows 4.5% of the general population have used amphetamines at some time in their life, while less than 1% of young adults had done so in the last 12 months. Ecstasy has been taken by nearly 7% of people, but the figure was also much lower for younger people over the last year, at less than 1%.
Around a quarter (25.3%) of the population has used cannabis. One in ten younger adults have taken the drug over the last year. The report also estimates between six and eight cases of problem opioid use per 1,000 of the population.
Earlier this year, a study by Europol and the EMCDDA found that Ireland, Spain, UK, Italy, and Denmark are home to 1.7 million - or six out of ten - of Europe's 2.7 million recent cocaine users, aged between 15 and 34 years.
It also named and shamed Ireland as a hot-bed for Vietnamese and Chinese organised crime gangs cultivating home-grown cannabis and for topping the poll for use of new drugs or so-called "legal highs".