Kiwis second highest drug users
The 17 countries surveyed included Colombia, Mexico, USA, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Ukraine, Israel, Lebanon, Nigeria, South Africa, Japan and New Zealand. Separate surveys were done in Beijing and Shanghai in China.
The study uses data from the countries participating in the World Health Organisation's (WHO) World Mental Health Survey Initiative.
It found that 16.2 per cent of people in the United States reported using cocaine in their lifetime, the second highest level of cocaine use was in New Zealand, where 4.3 per cent of people reported having used the drug.
Cannabis use was highest in the US (42.4 per cent), followed by New Zealand (41.9 per cent).
The research was based on interviews with 85,052 participants in 17 countries.
Sample sizes ranged from 2372 in the Netherlands to 12,992 in New Zealand, with most of the interviews done face-to-face. Participants were asked whether they had ever used alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, or cocaine.
It was published today in the journal of the Public Library of Science.
While New Zealand and the United States were closely matched in the proportion of people who reported having used cannabis, the USA was far ahead of the pack in terms of cocaine use.
New Zealand cocaine use was much closer to the levels around 4 per cent reported in Colombia, Mexico and Spain. Low proportions of cocaine use were reported in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.