Pubdate: Fri, 10 Jan 2003
Source: Peterborough Examiner, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2003 Osprey Media Group Inc.
Author: Patrick Maloney
Bookmark: (Cocaine)
Bookmark: (Needle Exchange)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Heroin)


Low Street Price Making It Drug Of Choice In City

Once the drug of choice for the self-indulgent, moneyed set in the 1980s, 
cocaine's lowering street value and increasing availability have made it a 
problem in cities across North America. And Peterborough, according to 
police, health officials and drug abuse counsellors, is no exception.

"We have a bad problem of it here in the city," said Det. Chris Robertson, 
a city police drug investigator. "Over the years it's come down in price. 
Anybody can afford it."

The street price of cocaine is about $40 or $50 for a half-gram - enough 
for a recreational user to get high. The fact that it's fairly cheap and 
readily available everywhere has made its usage more common.

That reflects in part in Peterborough's needle exchange statistics for 
2002. Visits to exchange sites around the city increased dramatically over 
the past year - to more than 1,800 in 2002 from 870 in 2001.

Dr. Garry Humphreys, the medical officer of health, said yesterday the 
statistics "came as quite a surprise" and the increase can be attributed to 
drug abuse. It should be noted, however, it doesn't necessarily mean more 
people are doing drugs.

"This could be 20 or 30 needles being exchanged for one person," he said.

Snorting, traditionally the way to ingest cocaine, has given way to needle 
injections. The powder is mixed with water, Robertson explained, cooked in 
a spoon and drawn back into the syringe.

While it isn't the city's biggest drug addiction problem, cocaine does 
cross the radar of the Four Counties Addiction Services Team fairly regularly.

Last year 841 people accessed FourCAST's services, with about half of that 
being people primarily addicted to alcohol and marijuana, executive 
director Donna Rogers said yesterday.

Fifty-two people identified cocaine as being their major drug addiction.

"From what I understand anyone who wants it can get it," she said. "It's 
not rare, but its prevalence is not that high."

Heroin and prescription drugs have also crept onto the drug scene in 
Peterborough of late, said city police Sgt. Tim Farquharson, formerly of 
the Kawartha Combined Forces Drug Unit."There are (residents) who don't 
have a clue. It's been a huge problem and it's only getting worse. The 
majority of criminal offenders, from fraud to theft to (break and enter), 
the vast majority are created due to a drug habit."
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