Europe's cocaine users risk lives

Researchers at the Institute of Legal Medicine in Seville, Spain found that more than three per cent

They suggest that nearly 12m Europeans are risking their lives with a lethal cocktail of cocaine, alcohol, and cigarettes.

Joaquin Lucena, head of forensic pathology at the Institute said that people have to give up the notion that recreational cocaine use is safe. He added that even small amounts may have catastrophic consequences, including sudden death.

Lucena and his team studied sudden deaths in south-west Spain between 2003 and 2006 and found that 3.1 per cent were related to taking cocaine, which had damaged the heart and arteries.

Lucena also said that his findings could safely be extrapolated to the rest of Europe, and concluded that cocaine use is a significant public health threat.