Cocaine in the (UK) Brain
Friday, May 18, 2001Cocaine is becoming so popular in the UK that London cops revealed this week that significant numbers of City of London executives are being caught in their ongoing raids in Soho crack users. The suits, the Standard reported this week, have been writing to cops begging for their cases to dropped, fearful of being banned from visiting the States. Even more ominously, another survey of 20,000 11 year old British school kids revealed that more than 1% of them admitted to trying cocaine, representing an unprecedented explosion in the class A drug's popularity. "Drug use is much more extensive than we thought," said Jeremy Gluck from Adolescent Assessment Services, the company that carried out the report. "The sheer numbers involved are very worrying. Some totals were so high that we genuinely didn't want to believe them."
Professor Howard Parker from Manchester University recently carried out a survey on his own students, which revealed similarly incredible results. "I have no doubt that cocaine is fast becoming the drug of choice after cannabis," the Professor told the Observer recently. "Among our group, who are now 22, we have seen a 400 (four hundred) percent rise in those who have tried cocaine. We went back to them expecting to see them beginning to settle down but what we found was a normalisation of cocaine use. We definitely have a move towards stimulant drug use in this country and I suspect that in around 18 months time we will really start to see the casualties."
"You're as likely to find the new classless drug of the masses in halls of residence in Manchester as in the toilets of a members-only bar in London: anywhere with a clean, flat surface," The Face confirmed in their own recent 24 page pullout cocaine special. They also revealed that 86% of Face readers living in Brighton admitted to having used the drug, compared to 46% of Londoners. Despite its newfound popularity, cocaine remains dangerous not only through its illegality (possession can potentially bring 7 year jail sentences) but also through its long-term physical and psychological side effects.
"One of the main problems with powder cocaine abuse is getting people to admit they have a problem," Jacqui Cotton from Manchester treatment centre the Piper Project told the Face. "There are reports of severe physical and mental reactions to cocaine use- nervous breakdowns, heart attacks, brain haemorrhages - but users are much more likely to develop problems over a period of months or years," she said. " The most common symptoms of long term cocaine use are feelings of apathy and hopelessness. Your friends feel boring; you feel bored yourself."