Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Isle of Man cocaine figures 'misleading' says government

Figures claiming the island has the highest proportion of cocaine users in the world are "misleading", the Isle of Man government has said.

The United Nations World Drugs Report 2012 shows that over a year 3.5% of people between 15 and 64 years old tried the Class A drug.

The report places the island ahead of places like Scotland (2.7%), England (2.2%) and Colombia (0.8%).

MHK David Quirk said he was concerned about the "misleading" figures.

He added: "They do not reflect the true position in the island, which has low levels of drug use and good support and treatment for drug users.

'Flawed methodology'

"The World Drug Report appears to have a deeply flawed methodology and should be disregarded."

A UN spokesman said the data on cocaine use among the general population in the Isle of Man was extrapolated from the lifetime prevalence of cocaine use among 15 to 16 year olds questioned under the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and other Drugs (ESPAD) in 2007.

The ESPAD sample of respondents included all the students in grades 10 and 11 in the Isle of Man (740 students).

The survey is conducted every three years with 35 participating countries.

According to the UN report, the Isle of Man also has a problem with ecstasy.

Figures show that 1.5% of the Manx population, in the same age bracket, tried the drug over a year.

But Mr Quirk said it was still unclear which year the figures refer to.

"The department is examining the origins of the claims in this report, which appear to be based on deeply flawed and extrapolated data from a European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs," said Mr Quirk.

"The data does not accord with the information held by the department; indeed it appears the findings are based on a small sample of teenagers which have then been applied across the entire Isle of Man population."

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