Death from cocaine is higher than ever, with 432 deaths in England and Wales in 2017 caused by the drug. This number has increased for the 6th year running and numbers have quadrupled in the past 7 years. This makes cocaine-related deaths higher than the amount of road traffic accident deaths in 2017.
The UK has the highest use rate than anywhere else in Europe, with it being the second most used drug in the UK after cannabis.
Cocaine is a strong stimulant and is mostly used recreationally. It has the ability to increase energy, decrease the appetite, and also give the user a sense of euphoria. It’s regularly used at parties and evening activities to make the user feel like the “life and soul” of the event.
Cocaine can be incredibly addictive and habit-forming due to the nature of the high. Eventually, users can feel they need cocaine just to get out of bed and give them energy throughout the day. Cocaine has a very short lasting effect, so users tend to take more in order to maintain the same levels of energy and euphoria.
It has some very dangerous side effects. In some cases it causes euphoria, but it can also cause paranoia and agitation, as well as aggression. It can increase the heart rate to such an extent it causes a heart attack. It can also raise the bodies temperature (hyperthermia), and cause brain damage. Even taking a low dose can make you 24 times more likely to have a heart attack. Taking alcohol or other drugs alongside it will further increase risks of side effects.
Cocaine is regularly mixed, or “cut”, with other substances such as powdered milk, painkillers or baking soda. In some cases, other cheaper stimulants such as caffeine or speed can be added to the mix in order to increase product density.
Emphasis is being put on finding out the reason behind the sudden surge in cocaine-related deaths, with many believing the cause could be the increased purity of the drug. This means it’s stronger, cheaper and more readily available to the public.
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