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Controlled drugs

Government investigation finds crack cocaine use increases by 8.5% in five years

The number of people using crack cocaine has increased by 8.5% in the past five years, according to the latest data from a Home Office and Public Health England (PHE) investigation.

According to a statement on the PHE website, the investigation was launched following evidence that indicated a rise in crack cocaine use in England.

To understand the rise, PHE and the Home Office led an inquiry based on a series of interviews and focus groups with drug treatment workers, service users and police officers.

Data from the investigation revealed that between 2011/2012 and 2016/2017, the number of crack cocaine users had increased by 8.5% from 166,640 users to 180,748 users.

Meanwhile, the data also show that the number of opiate users increased by 2% (5,131 people) in the same period, from 256,163 users to 261,294 users.

The investigation’s report also noted a 19% increase in the number of adults starting treatment for crack cocaine (with and without opiates) in England between 2015/2016 and 2017/2018.

The inquiry concluded that there was a “need to explore more effective methods of getting crack users into treatment and to provide a more attractive treatment offer which is tailored to their specific needs”.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20206336

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