Crack cocaine is the new 'fashion drug' for professionals, students, and clubbers, government report claims
The rise of crack users has been linked to factors such as aggressive marketing of the drug and also less police presence on the streets
A Government review heard how crack cocaine has become the new 'fashion drug' for professionals, students, and club goers. A new and 'hidden cohort' of crack users were flagged to a joint Home Office and Public Health England inquiry.
The rise in crack users has been linked to a variety of factors such as aggressive marketing of the drug and diminishing police presence on the streets. The investigation was also made aware that the drug use of crack cocaine has "skyrocketed". Officials had conducted interviews and started focus groups in order to help people who have a crack addiction.
These officials have been referred to as 'service users' and comprise a team of drug treatment workers and police officers through six areas in England.
As reported by Daily Mail, one service user who participated in the study revealed that the use of crack cocaine is "out of hand; it's an epidemic. Use is skyrocketing." Other participants also echoed this statement and shared that the increase has been mostly among existing heroin users. The study also noted that "there have also been suggestions of a new, 'hidden' group of crack users who are not heroin users and who have not engaged with treatment services."
The service users also reported that the use of crack was "beginning to become more acceptable, even fashionable among groups who would not previously have taken it." They added, "This included professionals, students, and clubbers. In one area with a large university student population, there was a view that dealers were successfully infiltrating these groups." The inquiry shared that more research was required to try and explore the characteristics of 'hidden' crack users who aren't in treatment.
The officials were also made aware that many young people had started to use crack. One service user was quoted saying, "My daughter's 17 and her friends are using it at the parties she goes to."
In the three areas which were studied, there was some evidence of 'out of town' dealers from gangs in London, Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham who were supplying the local market.
The treatment workers and service users had also witnessed that there were fewer police patrolling the streets as some officers claimed that their forces did not have dedicated drug squads. According to the report, "Participants in several areas said that deals were often carried out quite publicly, and some dealers made little effort to hide their activities."
The director for drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and justice at PHE Rosanna O'Connor shared, "This report will come as no surprise to those working on the front line, who will have seen first-hand this surge in crack use in their communities."
The Minister for crime, safeguarding, and vulnerability Victoria Atkins said, "The Government is committed to tackling the illicit drugs trade, protecting the most vulnerable and helping those with drug dependency to recover."