Teen cocaine use on the rise as more seek treatment

According to a new report from the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (NTA), people aged 18 to 24 now account for a third of all those in England seeking treatment for cocaine addiction.
Last year, over 3,000 18 to 24-year-olds sought treatment for cocaine use, with another 745 users under the age of 18.
This is nearly double the number who sought treatment in 2005-2006.

Over 60% of all cocaine users seeking treatment remain abstinent six months after completing their treatment, the NTA says.
However, the most recent British Crime Survey estimates there are 437,000 people aged 16 to 24 in England and Wales who have used cocaine in the past year.
The survey says the number of 16 to 24-year-olds to have used cocaine in the past year rose from 5.1% to 6.6% – the highest percentage of users yet.
The Class A drug is no longer seen as the preserve of the celebrity classes and can be brought on most city streets for “pocket money” prices, starting as little as £15 a bag.
Only cannabis and alcohol are more popular, while the use of designer dance drugs like ecstasy is falling.
Tumbling prices and the lack of stigma attached to powder cocaine have also led to increasing use at every level of British society. The number of cocaine dealers is also mushrooming, with a proliferation of younger street-level dealers who are known in urban slang as “shottas”.
Drugs education charities are warning that urgent action is needed so that recreational users are made aware of the dangers.
Cocaine is a class A drug that can cause anxiety, a rise in blood pressure and heart problems, as well as long-term addiction.
Statistics in a recent NTA report show that over 50% of cocaine users will also drink alcohol while using cocaine – a particular concern, as this creates a third highly toxic chemical in the body called cocaethylene, which can cause severe harm to the liver.
The potential health hazards are exacerbated by the fact that a lot of the cocaine sold on the streets is heavily adulterated, or “bashed”, as dealers refer to it, with various substances like crushed painkiller tablets and other stimulants.

Source: The Donal MacIntyre Show, BBC Radio 5 live

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