Cocaine users are treating drug like a weekend drink, police chief warns

A growing number of people are taking a line of cocaine as if it were a casual weekend drink – fuelling a rise in serious organised crime, a police chief has warned.

Deputy Chief Constable Jason Harwin, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for drugs, said people are using cocaine as a recreational drug, generally once or twice a month or every few months.

Its popularity has also grown because the class A drug’s purity has increased while street prices remain static – meaning users are getting more powerful cocaine for less money.

A growing number of people are taking a line of cocaine as if it were a casual weekend drink - fuelling a rise in serious organised crime, a police chief has warned. (File image)

A growing number of people are taking a line of cocaine as if it were a casual weekend drink - fuelling a rise in serious organised crime, a police chief has warned. (File image)

A growing number of people are taking a line of cocaine as if it were a casual weekend drink – fuelling a rise in serious organised crime, a police chief has warned. (File image)

‘Individuals are returning home at the end of the week. Previously they were drinking alcohol but now they’re taking a line of cocaine. They don’t see the impact it has on fuelling organised crime,’ Mr Harwin told The Times.  

He warned that the growing acceptance of cocaine as a recreational drug is having severe repercussions globally, which users in Britain are oblivious to. 

Deputy Chief Constable Jason Harwin (pictured), the National Police Chiefs' Council lead for drugs, said people are using cocaine as a recreational drug, generally once or twice a month or every few months

Deputy Chief Constable Jason Harwin (pictured), the National Police Chiefs' Council lead for drugs, said people are using cocaine as a recreational drug, generally once or twice a month or every few months

Deputy Chief Constable Jason Harwin (pictured), the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for drugs, said people are using cocaine as a recreational drug, generally once or twice a month or every few months

Somewhere along the cocaine chain – from production to transport and supply – serious and organised crime will be profiting, even if an individual uses the drug just once, Mr Harwin said.

And when it hits Britain, it can lead to turf wars between rival gangs trying to get a foothold in the market. 

According to the latest Home Office Drug Misuse survey, use of cocaine across households earning more than £10,000 has risen but has declined in households earning less than that.    

The percentage of 16 to 59-year-olds taking powdered cocaine had been on the rise over the past five years to 2.6 per cent in 2017-18. 

However, most said they took the drug only once or twice a year, with the number of frequent users declining. 

Meanwhile, figures last month showed that users in England purchased more drugs on the dark web than any other country in the world except Finland.    

Somewhere along the cocaine chain - from production to transport and supply - serious and organised crime will be profiting, even if an individual uses the drug just once, Mr Harwin said. (File image)

Somewhere along the cocaine chain - from production to transport and supply - serious and organised crime will be profiting, even if an individual uses the drug just once, Mr Harwin said. (File image)

Somewhere along the cocaine chain – from production to transport and supply – serious and organised crime will be profiting, even if an individual uses the drug just once, Mr Harwin said. (File image)

More than one in four recreational drug users admitted ordering substances on the encrypted network in the past 12 months.

It marks a 4 per cent jump in dark web purchases compared with 2018, according to the study looking at more than 120,000 substance-users worldwide.

The most popular drugs ordered on the dark net were MDMA, LSD and cannabis, followed by amphetamines such as speed and ADHD medication Adderall.

Does cannabis help alcohol and cocaine addicts overcome their dependencies?

A supplement derived from cannabis may help alcohol and cocaine addicts overcome their cravings, research suggested in March 2018.

Recovering rats given cannabidiol (CBD) are less likely to relapse when exposed to drugs, a study, by the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, found.

This is thought to be due to the supplement easing anxiety and stress, as well as reducing impulsive behaviour, according to the researchers.

After just three days of receiving CBD, recovering rats are still less likely to relapse five months later, the study found.

The researchers hope the findings will assist in the development of treatments to prevent human drug relapses.

CBD is a cannabis-derived nutritional supplement that is thought to possess a range of medicinal benefits and has been reported to help people suffering from migraines, psoriasis, acne and depression.

Legal in the UK, it does not contain any THC, which is the psychoactive component of marijuana that makes users ‘high’.

Speaking of the findings, lead author Dr Friedbert Weiss said: ‘The efficacy of the CBD to reduce reinstatement in rats with both alcohol and cocaine – and, as previously reported, heroin – histories predicts therapeutic potential for addiction treatment across several classes of abused drugs.

‘The results provide proof of principle supporting the potential of CBD in relapse prevention along two dimensions: beneficial actions across several vulnerability states and long-lasting effects with only brief treatment.

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