healthHealth and Medicine

Here’s Which Drugs And Sexually Transmitted Diseases Are Most Common In Europe


Ben Taub


Ben Taub

Freelance Writer

Benjamin holds a Master's degree in anthropology from University College London and has worked in the fields of neuroscience research and mental health treatment.

Freelance Writer

Cocaine remains the most popular illegal stimulant in Europe. Jarhe Photography/Shutterstock

Ever wondered what Europeans get up to in their spare time? Well, the Health at a Glance: Europe 2016 report, compiled by the European Commission and The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), provides an interesting insight into the secret lives of the continent’s residents.

When it comes to illicit drugs, cannabis is the top choice for most Europeans, with 13 percent of 15 to 34-year-olds having smoked the herb in the past year. This figure is much higher in some countries, though, with 23.9 percent of young adults in the Czech Republic getting stoned at some point last year.


Cocaine, meanwhile, is Europe’s most popular illicit stimulant, and was consumed by 1.9 percent of 15 to 34-year-olds across the EU last year. In the UK, however, this figure rises to 4.2 percent, making Brits the continent’s biggest consumers of the Andean powder.

Only 1.7 percent of Europeans in this age range used ecstasy or MDMA during this time period, although some countries did see significantly higher rates, with 5.5 percent of young adults in the Netherlands taking the drug.

Legal drugs are also very popular in Europe, with one in five adults in the EU smoking on a daily basis, and a similar proportion claiming to engage in heavy drinking at least once a month.

When it comes to sexually transmitted diseases, Brits are among the most riddled in Europe. Out of every 100,000 people in the country, 60 had gonorrhea in 2014, compared to an EU average of 20. HIV transmissions, however, were highest in Estonia, where 22.1 people per 100,000 contracted the illness in 2014. According to the report, the biggest cause of these infections was needle sharing among drug users, providing yet more evidence for the need for safe injection facilities and needle exchange programs.


The report also provides some statistics that give a measure of the overall health of Europeans. Life expectancy, for example, increased across the continent from 74.2 years in 1990 to 80.9 years in 2015, although more than one in six adults were found to be obese in 2014, up from one in nine in 2000.


healthHealth and Medicine
  • tag
  • alcohol,

  • hiv,

  • cocaine,

  • tobacco,

  • nicotine,

  • Marijuana,

  • Cannabis,

  • smoking,

  • MDMA,

  • cigarettes,

  • ecstasy,

  • gonorrhoea,

  • sexually transmitted disease