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Shocking picture of drug use among young people in Spain 

Around 2.3 million young Spaniards aged between 15 and 34 took cocaine in the last year, a new survey has revealed.

The figure means Spain is one of the leaders in the EU for cocaine and cannabis use among young people, together with the UK and France.

Cocaine remains the most commonly used drug in Spain, with a percentage of 3.3 per cent use by the 15 to 34 year age group in the last twelve months. The ranking is headed by the UK at 4.2 per cent.

Although shocking, both Spain and the UK have seen a decline in use since the peak of 2008.

Cocaine consumption in Ireland is  2.8 per cent and in Denmark, it is  2.4 per cent. Greece is the country with less use of this drug  at 0.2 per cent.

Although Spain remains the country that more cocaine is seized (26.7 tons), there are signs of a steady diversification of trafficking routes to places like the Mediterranean East, the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea, according to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs.

As regards cannabis, this is the most commonly used illicit drug in all age groups. An estimated 14.5 million young Europeans (11.7 per cent of total) tried it in the last year. In Spain, this percentage rises to 17 per cent, surpassed only by France (22.1 per cent), Czech Republic (21.6 per cent) and Denmark (17.6 per cent). Also in this case, population surveys in Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom show a reduction or stable prevalence of cannabis in the last decade.

By contrast, an increased prevalence in Bulgaria, France and the three Nordic countries, Denmark, Finland and Sweden is observed, said the report. The lower consumption of cannabis is also detected in Greece (3.2 per cent).

Spain is below the EU average in the number of drug-induced deaths, with 383 cases among young people per million inhabitants, compared with 5,804 deaths cases in Europe. As regards HIV diagnoses among drug users, Spain recorded 145 cases among young people per million inhabitants, below the EU average (1,446).

The centre has warned that new drugs are coming on to the market at the rate of two a week and the internet is being used more and more to source them.