Recovering addict: ‘Easier to get crack cocaine than a takeaway’

The Welsh Valleys are in the grip of a “crack epidemic”, a recovering addict has warned.

In an episode of the BBC/Open University documentary series on drug use – Drugs Map of Britain –   ‘Richard’, 28, quips that in Rhondda Cynon Taf it’s “easier to get crack than it is a takeaway”.

In 2022, Office for National Statistics figures show that 857 of all drug-poisoning deaths in England and Wales involved cocaine – two per cent more than in 2021, and the eleventh consecutive annual rise.

Cannabis to crack

Speaking about the availability of the Class A drug, Richard said: “Few years ago you’d have to go to Cardiff to get it, but now the dealers are creeping up into the Valleys. You’re never far away from somebody who sells crack.”

Charting his path to addiction, he explained: “The first time I took drugs, I was an eleven-year-old in school, and I smoked cannabis for the first time, and ever since that first time, I’ve always done them since.”

“I was sniffing cocaine first recreationally, and then the cocaine habit developed into a crack cocaine habit. It’s a thin line”.

“When it’s in your head you’re literally willing to do anything to get it.”

Cocaine is often seen by some in our society as a harmless drug they may use on a night out, but it is far from that. National Police Chiefs’ Council

New beginning

During the programme, Richard visits his nine-year-old daughter as he prepares to move to Leicester for sixteen weeks of rehabilitation.

He realises that something needs to change: “She knows I take drugs. I believe that the rest of my life is going to be controlled by drugs. So it’s kind of a now or never moment”.

Cocaine production and supply is fuelled by violence and exploitation, not only around the world, but here in the UKNational Police Chiefs’ Council

Catching up with Richard six weeks later, he shares: “Feels like the best I’ve ever felt. I feel free of addiction. I feel like a changed man. Definitely, I’ve been changed. The way I feel inside, outside. It’s all good. All good things.”

Also see:

Synthetic opioids predicted to fuel drugs death crisis

Stoke MP wants tougher action on life-destroying ‘monkey dust’

Police Commissioner: ‘We need to tackle the absolute stink of cannabis on our streets’