65 per cent rise in number of kids addicted to cocaine

The number of children in England being treated for cocaine addiction has increased by 65 per cent since 2005, according to new official figures.

And a report by MPs has revealed that lines of the class A drug can now be bought for as little as £2 each, less than the price of a cup of coffee.

The figures from the National Treatment Agency reveal that between 2005/06 and 2008/09 the number of children under 18 being treated for cocaine addiction increased from 453 to 745.

And the number of adults aged between 18 and 24 in treatment nearly doubled from 1,586 to 3,005 over the same period.

The increasing popularity of the drug is due to its glamorisation by celebrities and successful business people, according to a group of MPs.

The report by members of the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee said: “The seeming propensity of celebrity users to ‘get away with’ using cocaine does contribute to a general trend of glamorising use, as does the social acceptability and normalisation generated by ‘successful’ people who appear to function normally, often holding down high-flying careers, whilst using cocaine.

“These are doubly dangerous as they contribute to the misguided reputation of cocaine as a relatively safe and non-addictive drug.”

Ten years ago one gram of cocaine would have cost £80, but increased demand has reduced the price to £40 per gram.

This means that a line of cocaine can now be bought for £2.

James Brokenshire, Tory Shadow Minister for Home Affairs, said: “It is preposterous to think that it is now actually cheaper to buy a dangerous drug than a coffee in London.

“Labour’s failure to secure our porous borders has resulted in more drugs getting on to Britain’s streets.”

He added: “Under this Government’s watch, Britain has become the cocaine capital of Europe. We can’t go on like this.”

The MPs’ report also highlighted the perils of the drug, which is often mixed with unknown substances such as anaesthetics and animal worming agents.

An average sample of cocaine is only 27 per cent pure, and in some cases the purity can be as low as five per cent.

Last year a total of 12,354 people were treated for cocaine addiction in England.

Earlier this week new figures revealed that five out of six people caught with cannabis are escaping prosecution despite the fact that the Government has reclassified it as a more serious drug.

The figures showed that while 160,000 people were caught with cannabis in 2008-09, a mere 27,500 were taken to court.

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