Middle class cocaine abuse spirals ‘out of control’: Dinner hosts compete to offer the purest drugs as addiction referrals soar by 300% in pandemic
- Cocaine use is now ‘spiralling out of control’ among Britain’s middle classes
- Addiction referrals have soared by 300 per cent amid the Covid-19 pandemic
- Expert warned social media has made it easier for dealers to deliver to homes
- The strength and purity of cocaine increased from 20% a decade ago to 80%
Cocaine use is ‘spiralling out of control’ among Britain’s middle classes, with addiction referrals soaring by 300 per cent during the pandemic.
Jan Gerber, who runs the Paracelsus Recovery clinic, warned that social media and the ‘dark corners of the web’ had made it easier for people to find dealers who will deliver drugs to their door – with the result that usage levels are at an all-time high among professionals.
‘From what we are seeing among our clients, cocaine has become the norm at dinner parties in the UK,’ said Mr Gerber, who runs centres for wealthy clients in London and Zurich.
‘People are acting like wine snobs when it comes to cocaine, priding themselves on having the strongest and more pure forms of the drug.’
Cocaine use is ‘spiralling out of control’ among Britain’s middle classes, with addiction referrals soaring by 300 per cent during the pandemic (stock image)
Experts warn the strength and purity of the drug has increased from 20 per cent a decade ago to 80 per cent.
Official figures show that there were 777 deaths involving cocaine in England and Wales last year, five times as many as a decade ago.
Meanwhile, Scotland recorded 459 cocaine deaths, more than four times higher than in 2015.
It comes as six men were arrested off the Devon coast and more than two tons of cocaine worth £160 million was seized.
The National Crime Agency said an operation involving its personnel as well as the Australian Federal Police and Border Force arrested a British man from Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham, and five Nicaraguans on a Jamaican-flagged yacht 80 miles out at sea.
Mr Gerber said people in Britain were increasingly taking a cocktail of substances.
‘People are mixing alcohol and cocaine which causes the liver to produce cocaethylene, a poisonous chemical which can be many times more toxic than cocaine itself.
‘Yes, cocaine has always been a popular party drug. However, abuse is clearly at an all-time high, both in terms of the amount consumed and the number of people taking the drug.
Jan Gerber, who runs the Paracelsus Recovery clinic, warned that social media had made it easier for people to find dealers who will deliver drugs to their door (stock image)
‘Many successful people who may not have been the party type were suddenly developing habits in lockdown due to the stress and isolation.
‘In addition, people were stuck at home and free to take however much they wanted. As a result, they began taking much higher quantities than if they were out at a bar or party. They’re carrying on that habit now they’re free to socialise again.’
Policing Minister Kit Malthouse recently warned that middle-class users needed to ‘connect themselves with the violence’ of the drugs trade ahead of a new Government strategy to change the ‘perceived acceptability’ of taking drugs.
‘In cities like Liverpool, Manchester and London, they see the dead kids on the news, they see what the impact of the drugs industry is on other people, but they don’t see the part they play,’ he told The Times.
The Home Office is devising an advertising campaign that links casual drug use with the impact it is having, from gang violence on UK streets to murder and child exploitation in Central and South America.
It is hoped a hard-hitting advertisement campaign can make snorting cocaine as socially unacceptable as drink-driving.