Better quality cocaine fuelling middle class drug use

Cocaine use among wealthy professionals continues to rise

Over the past decade drug use has fallen significantly according to the annual Crime Survey of England and Wales.

Stronger ecstasy is tempting some users back to the market

But figures published by the Home Office suggested the group bucking that trend are the professional middle classes with household incomes in excess of £50,000 a year.

It comes as statistics from the Health and Social Care Information Centre showed that the number of deaths from illicit drug use was at its highest level since 1993.

The number of hospital admissions for drug related poisoning was also up 57 per cent on the previous decade.

Three per cent of people aged between 16 and 59 with a household income higher than £50,000 admitted taking cocaine over the past 12 months, up from 2.2 per cent the previous year; while 2.2 per cent admitted taking MDMA or ecstasy, up from 1.5 per cent in 2014.

However the figures for people from lower income households suggested that their use of the deadly Class A drugs were down year on year.

This comes despite a high profile campaign by the police to warn the middle classes that they were being targeted in the war on drugs. Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, recently said affluent people who indulged in cocaine use at home, were fuelling the £1 billion market deadly drugs market.

He even suggested that employers should consider introducing regular drug testing as a condition of employment.

But experts believe the warnings have done little to deter the middle classes, who have been tempted into taking drugs because of an improvement in quality.

Niamh Eastwood of the charity Release said: “We know from experience that legislation does not have a significant impact on drug use, but this is particularly the case for middle class users who often get their narcotics from friends or trusted suppliers and then take them in the safety of their own home.

“In previous years, use fell because the quality of the drugs was poor, but recently the purity of cocaine and the strength of ecstasy has improved has improved, so well off professionals, who perhaps used to take drugs in the 1990s they have returned to the marketplace.”

Almost 40 per cent of adults who took part in the survey said they believed it would be easy for them to get hold of drugs within 24 hours if they wanted them.  However the figures did show that drug use amongst women had  fallen to its lowest level in more than 20-years.

Source:  28th July 2016

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