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National Crime Agency names UK as the cocaine capital of Europe

Usage has tripled in the past decade

  • Patrick Hinton
  • 18 May 2020
National Crime Agency names UK as the cocaine capital of Europe

The National Crime Agency says the UK is the “biggest user of powder cocaine in Europe."

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Usage of the Class A substance is said to have increased by nearly 300 per cent in the past decade, with the NCA’s head of drugs Lawrence Gibbons estimating the amount being trafficked into the country has risen from 30 tonnes in 2011 to 117 tones last year.

Speaking to The Times, Gibbons said: “The UK is the biggest user of powder cocaine in Europe,” he said. “A lot of the consignments we see coming into Europe — through Spain, Belgium or the Netherlands mainly — a significant proportion is destined for the UK.

“In the 1980s it was seen as a middle-class drug, a commodity for bankers and professionals. That’s no longer the case, it doesn’t distinguish any more.”

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In 2019, a study from King’s College London also ranked London and Bristol in the top five cities for cocaine consumption in Europe, alongside Zurich, Barcelona and Antwerp.

[Photo via Marco Verch]

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