We’ve previously mapped the world according to cannabis, alcohol and cigarette consumption, here – ahead of a new two-part ITV documentary on the drug, presented by the chef Gordon Ramsay – we’re looking at cocaine.
The map below shows the world according to prevalence of cocaine use as a percentage of the population, according to the most recent statistics available on the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime website. Those countries or territories that appear in darker colours consume the most cocaine, those in lighter colours consume the least (there is no data available for those nations in grey). The data corresponds to a variety of reporting years, so does not offer a perfect comparison, but gives a good indication of the nations that have the biggest appetite for cocaine.
Britain is among the world’s biggest users of the drug. The figure given for the UK of 2.25 per cent refers to consumption in England and Wales by those aged 16-59, as recorded in the 2015/16 Crime Survey for England and Wales. Government sources report that cocaine use is slightly higher in Scotland – around 2.34 per cent as of 2014/15, while in Northern Ireland it’s lower – 1.8 per cent.
Topping the table is Albania. Public health research from 2014 estimates that 2.5 per cent of its population aged between 16 and 64 use the drug.
Other countries in the top 10 include the US, Spain, Australia and Netherlands, along with a couple of South American nations: Chile and Uruguay.
At a glance | The 20 biggest cocaine consuming countries
- Albania – 2.5 per cent of the population uses it
- Scotland – 2.34
- United States – 2.3
- England and Wales – 2.25
- Spain – 2.2
- Australia – 2.1
- Uruguay – 1.8
- Chile – 1.73
- Netherlands – 1.6
- Ireland – 1.5
- Canada – 1.46
- Aruba – 1.3
- Bermuda – 1.3
- Ghana – 1.1
- Italy – 1.1
- France – 1.1
- Israel – 1.07
- Iceland – 1.06
- Costa Rica – 1.06
- Luxembourg – 1.04
It may surprise many to see Colombia down in 34th (out of 115 destinations). While cocaine production and distribution is synonymous with the country, only 0.7 per cent of citizens actually use it, according to a 2013 report. African and Middle Eastern nations typically report the lowest use.
Gordon Ramsay was inspired to film his documentary, the first part of which airs at 9pm tonight, after seeing the drug wreck the careers of some of his colleagues. One protégé even died of a cocaine overdose in 2003.
“I saw cocaine quite early on in my career,” he said. “I’ve been served it. I’ve been given it. I’ve had my hand shaken and left with little wraps of foil in it. I’ve been asked to dust cocaine on top of soufflés, to put it on as icing sugar… coke’s everywhere in the restaurant world. It’s spiralling out of control.”