Pubdate: Sun, 08 Jul 2001
Source: Sunday Times (UK)
Copyright: 2001 Times Newspapers Ltd.
Bookmark: (Cocaine)


COCAINE, the ultimate "success" drug, has fallen on hard times. Once 
the preserve of touring rock stars, footballers and City wide boys, 
it is becoming the drug of choice in Scotland's housing schemes, 
writes Carlos Alba.

Ministers are alarmed by the development and have ordered an inquiry 
to find out who is using the drug and what damage it is doing to 
Scottish communities.

Its increased availability is linked to a global price slump. A 
decade ago the average price of cocaine in Scotland was ?200 per 
gram. Until the late 1990s it remained at about ?100 a gram. Now the 
same amount can be bought for ?40.

A study earlier this year by Crew 2000, an Edinburgh-based drug 
agency, found that among substance abusers 63% were using cocaine 
compared with 40% two years ago. A recent Scottish crime survey found 
that cocaine use among 16 to 24-year-olds had doubled in two years.

The drug is traditionally associated with the rich and famous, 
following the well publicised addictions of celebrities like Robbie 
Williams and former It girl Tara Palmer-Tomkinson.

Mike Cadger, project manager at Crew 2000, said: "There's a shift 
into cocaine use, principally among people in their early twenties 
from ordinary backgrounds.

"Many people find it a cleaner drug than ecstasy in that they can 
control it much more easily."
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