New Zealanders occupy top spot on drug users list

A shock United Nations report says New Zealanders and Australians are the primary abusers of Ecstasy closely followed by the Netherlands, Scotland, England and Wales.



New Zealand, the UK and Australia are at the top of the list of party drug abusers claims a United Nations report.

Ecstasy use per 100 people
Australia: 3.0
New Zealand: 2.6
Scotland: 1.7
Netherlands: 1.4
England & Wales: 1.3
Bulgaria: 1.2
Estonia: 1.2
USA: 1.2

Cocaine use per 100 people
Scotland: 2.4
Spain: 2.3
USA: 2.3
Australia: 2.1
Uruguay: 2.1
England & Wales: 1.9
Malta: 1.78
Brazil: 1.75

According to a report by the United Nations New Zealanders are the world’s second most prolific users of the popular party drug Ecstasy narrowly beaten by Australia.

Cocaine seems less popular as a drug of choice for Kiwi’s with Scotland at the top of this report.  The report states that one in 40 Scots use Cocaine on a regular basis while one in 50 English and Welsh citizens also use this drug recreationally every year.

Ecstasy seems the more popular choice with Australians and New Zealanders who top that list, but still remains a favourite of the Brits.

Hot on the heels of statements by celebrities such as actor Russell Brand, pop artist Sting and Vigin’s Sir Richard Branson called on the British government to seize its war on drugs.

In an open letter to UK Prime Minister David Cameron campaigners requested that the UK’s drug policy be reviewed saying that  evidence from Australia, the Czech Republic and Portugal revealed that drug abuse is ‘dramatically’ reduced when users are educated on the effects thereof.  The letter claims that education rather than persecution for use and possession would have better results.

“With recent statistics showing that cocaine and ecstasy use in the UK remains among the highest in Europe, it reveals that the government’s approach of strict criminalisation is failing to have an impact on levels of use,” said Edward Fox of the drugs charity Release.

He continued that, “By its own estimates, the government spends £1.5-£2.5 billion annually on law enforcement against supply and possession offences, yet the UK still has one of the highest overall rates of drug use in Western Europe.

“Over 90% of people who use drugs in this country [the UK] do so recreationally, many of them are young and the greatest risk they face is criminalisation,” said Fox adding, “Additionally the cost of police and prosecuting this activity is an expensive waste of tax payers money.

“It is time that the UK government looks at removing unnecessary criminal sanctions for drug possession to prevent any further waste of state resources and to end the lost opportunities for young people created by criminal records,” concluded Fox.

“We treat some 4,000 people every year whose health, jobs and relationships have been wrecked by cocaine addiction, so the findings of the UN World Drug Report are not that surprising,” said Simon Antrobus, Chief Executive of the addiction charity Addaction.

“Cocaine might once have been a drug used only by the wealthy but it’s been getting cheaper and cheaper since the mid-90s and is now easily accessible in most towns and cities.

“That’s why Addaction provides education for young people alongside our treatment work so that they understand the potentially very serious risks involved and develop the resilience to make responsible, informed decisions around drugs,” commented Antrobus.

But speaking to the MailOnline a government spokesperson for Scotland rejected the figures saying Scotland does not accept the comparisons due to concern over the amount and quality of the information on which the survey is based.

“The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey information on drug use for 2012-13, published two weeks ago, showed that self-reported drug misuse is decreasing among both the adult population and younger people (16-24) and that drug use was falling for class A and B drugs, including cocaine and ecstasy, as well as well as cannabis.

“Indeed, it is likely that other countries are under-reporting their drugs use – artificially elevating Scotland (and other UK countries) relative position.

“Here in Scotland, we are recognised as having some of the most robust information available in the world and despite what this report says, our national statistics, drawn from a range of sources and independently analysed and assessed by the UK Statistics Authority, show that drug use in Scotland is falling among the general adult population and young people,” said the spokesperson.