In countries such as the U.S. cocaine is no longer the drug of choice for many people. Back in the 80s, the white powder was seen as a clean drug and was popular with the well-to-do and glamorous individuals. It was seen as less dangerous than other illegal drugs. However, the drug has since been overtaken in popularity by drugs like methamphetamine and heroin. However, the story is quite different in the UK.
In the UK, cocaine has more or less maintained its popularity through the decades. The country is almost always near the top of the list when statistics for cocaine use in Europe are released and now things seem to be getting worse. The rate of cocaine use has greatly increased since the turn of the century. What’s most concerning is that the drug has now worked its way down to the middle and lower class, groups that are traditionally not associated with this drug.
Increased Cocaine Use
The fact that cocaine use has now spread to groups that are usually not associated with the drug is one of the most worrying facts from the study. According to the study, over twenty years, there has been an increase in the use of the drug in people who can be described as being of ‘moderate means’ or ‘comfortable’. This means the drug is now being used by young and old couples living in the suburbs and also by blue collar employees. There is an increase in the number of users who are mixing cocaine with alcohol among users aged 45-54. This is exposing them to even more health risks.
Why the Change?
Cocaine was and still is a relatively expensive drug. This is why it was normally associated with people of a certain class in society. However, for people who can’t afford the premium stuff, they are now able to buy less expensive versions of cocaine. Dealers are now cutting cocaine with other substances, significantly reducing its purity. Some of the adulterants that have been used include an anaesthetic, talcum powder and a de-wormer.
The substances that are being used to cut the cocaine are however presenting their own health problems. The de-wormer, for example, has been found to reduce the number of white blood cells in the body of the user. The de-wormer has already been declared unfit for humans. Most of the cocaine that is found on the streets is this cheaper version and these usually have purity levels of less than 10%.
Most of the research in question was backed by The Advisory Council on Misuse of Drugs. The council’s chair feels that one of the reasons why more people have taken to using the drug is due to influence by celebrities who glamorize its use. The chair also worried that many of those who use the drug recreationally have a false sense of safety and are unaware that even using the drug a few times can have serious consequences.