Worldwide, there has been a continued decline in the death rate from the substance, according to the WHO. But deaths have spiked in some areas, including Germany.
In Germany, the number of cocaine users has dropped significantly since 1995 but has since risen in part because the country is an important source of the drug for Spain, where it is cheaper. To compensate, the country has been placing limitations on how much and when certain drugs can be prescribed. An EU treaty approved last month will temporarily lift those restrictions.
Officials in Germany are blaming the spike in deaths on the introduction of newer drugs that are faster and cheaper to make. More new chemicals are likely to be made in a laboratory and smuggled from laboratories in Spain and other countries to the streets of Germany.
In Spain, medical experts have warned that the country’s attention to users, which includes detection of heroin with an expensive new drug-sniffing machine, is not keeping pace with their drug needs.