COCAINE use has doubled in Britain in the last five years and it’s creating a mental health time bomb.
More than a million Brits have put their lives on the line by using it in the last year, with many seeing it as a drug without consequences – even though experts warn it can trigger depression, paranoia and suicidal thoughts.
Have you or your family been affected by cocaine? Tell us your story by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
That’s why The Sun is launching its End Of The Line campaign to raise awareness of the devastating impact even ‘casual’ use of the killer drug can have.
More than one in ten British adults have tried cocaine, double the EU average and use among young people is surging, with 20 percent of 16-to-24-year-olds taking it in the past year.
Both had traces of cocaine in their systems when they killed themselves.
All of this blows out of the water the age-old troup that cocaine is a middle class problem.
While that might have been the case in the 80s, in 2019 everyone from builders to reality TV stars are at it.
Cocaine is increasingly viewed as a drug without consequences, one which it’s easy to dabble in on a Friday night – but this needs to stop.
Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP and Clinical Director of Patient.info says: “I worry hugely how many people see cocaine as a ‘party drug’ and assume that it’s basically harmless.
“Nothing could be further from the truth.
“Cocaine itself is highly addictive, and it’s all too easy for your use to escalate until it takes over your life.
“It can cause heart attacks even in young, otherwise healthy people; seizures and brain damage; and severe mental health problems, including paranoid ideas.”
This is why we are calling for more awareness around cocaine, to stop it being seen as a fun and risk-free party drug.
Reality TV star Jeremy McConnell is backing our campaign, and reveals in an exclusive interview just how far he sank when taking the killer drug.
He says: “Cocaine is the devil – it’s not cool, it rots your brain and destroys lives and anything that’s important becomes a blur.
“Don’t be tempted to ever try it.”
Jeremy is just one of the celebrities who will be speaking out about their experience with cocaine as The Sun raises awareness around the drug.
Over the coming weeks we will highlight:
- How cocaine raises users’ risk of suicide and depression
- The terrifying physical consequences of the drug
- How prevalent it is in the UK, with builders, cabbies and labourers all using
- That the showbiz circuit is awash with it
Doctors have warned a flood of cheap and potent cocaine into the UK is fuelling suicide rates.
Deaths linked to the drug have quadrupled since 2011, while hospital admissions for coke-fuelled mental health conditions in England have trebled in the last decade.
End Of The Line
Cocaine use is reaching epidemic levels in Britain, with the UK branded the ‘Coke capital’ of Europe.
More than one in ten British adults are believed to have tried it, and with young people the numbers are even worse.
A staggering one in five 16-to-24-year-olds have taken cocaine in the last year.
That’s why The Sun has launched its End Of The Line campaign, calling for more awareness around the drug.
Cocaine use can cause mental health problems such as anxiety and paranoia, while doctors have linked the rise in cheap, potent coke to an increase in suicide rates.
People from all walks of life, from builders and labourers to celebrities like Jeremy McConnell – who is backing our campaign – have fallen foul of its lure.
It’s an issue that is sweeping the UK and, unless its tackled now, means a mental health crisis is imminent.
Worryingly, while many people use cocaine because it dulls the effect of alcohol so they can drink more, many of these deaths take place under just those circumstances.
Mixing alcohol and cocaine produces a toxic chemical called cocaethylene, which is deadlier than the drug on its own and also dangerously increases heart rate and blood pressure.
Both Mike and Sophie had cocaine and alcohol in their system when they died.
Over the coming month, we will tell the devastating stories of those whose lives have been ripped apart because of cocaine.
Where to go for help
Helpline open 24/7: 0300 123 6600
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Help for anyone with drug and alcohol issues.
Dedicated help for people under 25.
Mental health support line: 0300 304 7000
Rehab and community addiction treatment
0300 330 0659
Help for families affected by drugs and alcohol
Part of the reason use of the drug is on the rise is how easy it is to get hold of.
The average price of a gram has dropped to £50 – with some dealers offering two-tier supermarket-style prices such as £30 ‘basic’ and £70 ‘finest’. In 1989, the price of a gram of cocaine was £250.
Dealers are running Uber-style services that enable addicts to get deliveries straight to their door – or pub – in a matter of minutes.
Rising numbers are buying coke online, with social media and messaging apps making it not only easier to come by but harder for police to keep track of.
Cocaine use is reaching epidemic levels in the UK, storing up a future where young people are plagued by mental health issues.
Ian Hamilton, a senior lecturer in addiction and mental health at the University of York, said that there are well evidenced links between cocaine and acute psychosis in young people and adults.
He added: “There is a problem with increasing purity of cocaine which I think is catching out young naive users who are at risk of overdosing as this misjudge how much of the drug they should use.”
This is why The Sun is calling for the End Of The Line.
Am I addicted to cocaine? The signs and symptoms of addiction
Cocaine is highly addictive and what can start out as a one-off can quickly turn into a habit.
Regular use of the drug changes the way the brain releases dopamine – a chemical in the brain that makes you feel happy.
But the high is short-lived so often users will take more to feel the desired effects again.
Over time, the body and brain can become too used to cocaine that it builds up a tolerance, which means you have to take more to feel the same high.
If you recognise any of the following behaviours in yourself, it might mean you’ve developed an addiction to cocaine:
- You’re taking more of the drug to feel the effects
- When you stop or reduce your dosage, you feel agitated, restless and depressed
- You’re struggling to cut down or control how much you take, even if you try to
- You spend a lot of time thinking about and trying to get cocaine
- You’re disregarding family, friends and work in favour of taking cocaine
- You know the damage it’s doing to you, but you can’t stop taking it