Italy, a southern European nation that is a peninsula extending into the central Mediterranean Sea, has among the highest rates of illicit drug use in Europe. Based on United Nations (UN) data, Italy has the highest rate of cannabis use in Europe, with over 14 percent of those between the ages of 15 and 64 using cannabis annually. Italy also has among the highest rates of cocaine use in Europe, with 2.2 percent of the adult population using cocaine annually.

The 8,500-kilometer coastline of Italy makes it a focal point for the trafficking and availability of illegal drugs. Ships easily hide large consignments of illicit drugs because of their complex structures. In the period 1979–90, the illicit trafficking and abuse of drugs in Italy reached alarming ...

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