A report which was carried out by the government’s advisory council on the misuse of drugs (ACMD) has found that cocaine is no longer reserved just for the rich and famous and its use has spread into Britain’s suburbs, high rises and inner city council estates.
Although actual consumption of the drug has fallen slightly since its peak in 2008/09, the emergence of low-purity, cheaper cocaine has made it easily accessible to a wider social demographic including the middle classes and those on lower incomes.
The report found that cocaine is now the second most widely used drug with almost one in 10 (9.4%) of all 16 to 59 year-olds in the UK admitting to having tried it at some point in their life. It is most commonly used by those aged 20-24 (5.5%) which is then followed by the 25-29 age group (4.8%), 30-34 year-olds (3.4%) and then 16-19 year-olds (2.3%). Less than 2% of those aged 35+ had used the drug in the last year.
According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, the UK has been near the top of the European league table when it comes to cocaine use for decades now. With the increasing prevalence of cocaine use, this has raised many concerns because the drug has been linked with serious crime, risky behaviours and even first-time users have been warned that they could experience potentially severe and life-threatening consequences.
Further concerns have been raised about the fact that the reason cocaine can now be sold much cheaper is because it has been cut with other harmful substances including worming agents and local anaesthetics. In fact, most street-level seizures in 2008/09 were found to have a purity of 10% or less.
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