For the past decade, cocaine has become a rapidly growing problem in Europe, reports National Public Radio. Some 10 million Europeans, about three percent of the population, say they’ve tried cocaine at least once in their lifetimes. In Spain and Britain, cocaine consumption is comparable to that of the United States. Spain is the European gateway for the drug.
Last year, more than 8,000 people were jailed in Spain for cocaine trafficking. Law enforcement officials say the country has become a key European money laundering center for Colombian cocaine cartels. Already this year, police at Madrid’s airport have seized more than 2 1/2 tons of cocaine – nearly the amount seized for all of 2006.