Pubdate: Tue, 10 Sep 2002
Source: Edinburgh Evening News (UK)
Contact:  2002 The Scotsman Publications Ltd
Author: Michael Howie


POLICE have launched a website to warn parents and children of the
dangers of crack cocaine following a dramatic rise in its use.

The taking of crack and cocaine powder has increased by more than 200
per cent in Scotland in the past five years.

Police claim some clubbers in Edinburgh are now using the drugs
instead of Ecstasy.

Officers and drug agencies are becoming increasingly alarmed at the
number of young people taking crack, the more addictive, smokeable
form of cocaine.

Police in Edinburgh said the dangers of taking crack were heightened
by dealers mixing it with heroin to create more addictive

A UK Drugs Unlimited report of clubbers in Edinburgh and Glasgow
showed nearly half of them - mostly undergraduates and young
professionals - had taken cocaine. The study of more than 2000 15 to
30-year-olds found a quarter had used cocaine between January and April 2001.

The website reports: "There does appear to be an increase in the use
of the drug, which is appearing in more clubs and around the dance
scene, with some young people turning to it instead of Ecstasy."

It is also explains that taking crack and other forms of cocaine
induces an "immensely pleasurable 'rush' or 'high', a strong feeling
of euphoria, alertness, physical strength and mental capacity" but
points out it is both illegal and addictive.

To raise awareness of the website, Lothian and Borders Police are
sending business cards with the site's address on to schools and clubs.

Detective Chief Inspector and force drug co-ordinator Craig Naylor
said: "We wanted to give the information in a non-sensationalist way
so people can come to us and know they are getting an unbiased,
balanced view."

He added: "Crack cocaine is a highly addictive drug and we are finding
it being taken across the social spectrum.

" We are trying to make sure it doesn't become a major problem through
the website and the message being sent to schools by drugs awareness

Last month the Evening News reported how the number of new referrals
to drug treatment services in Edinburgh involving cocaine increased
from 16 in 1996 to 58 last year.

And those involving crack cocaine increased from zero in 1996 to 16
last year.

A report by the Scottish Advisory Committee on Drug Misuse identified
the Capital as one of three "hot spots" for the drugs, along with
Glasgow and Aberdeen. It said more treatment should be available to
meet the specific needs of these drug users.

The report found use of cocaine and crack cocaine across Scotland had
dramatically increased, with a quadrupling of new referrals to drug
treatment centres involving cocaine or crack cocaine from 139 in
1995-96 to 562 in 2000-01.

It said police seizures of cocaine went from 0.25 kg in 1997 to 25 kg
in 2001, reflecting greater availability on the streets.

The report - the first to examine the use and impact of
"psychostimulants" like cocaine, crack cocaine and amphetamines in
Scotland - warned there was no room for complacency.

It said there was an urgent need for information on the dangers of
crack and cocaine use.

And it said the Scottish Executive should work with local Drug Action
Teams to spread the message through libraries, sports centres, gyms,
websites, pubs and clubs.
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