Cocaine – All lows and no highs…

Latest figures from the British crime survey show that cocaine use has jumped by 30% in the past year, and in doing so, deaths from cocaine use have also increased – up from 18 in 1996 to 95 last year.

The regular use of cocaine may cause serious damage to the heart, and can be fatal. Cocaine puts an enormous amount of pressure on the heart and many users are unaware of the health risks involved in taking it.

Cocaine can also have a serious affect on the life of the person using it although, as one former cocaine user tells, this can be overcome:

“Jane” started using cocaine in her late teens following heavy use of alcohol. She used cocaine because it stifled the sense of low self worth she had, from being in an abusive family.

Jane started to shoplift to feed her habit and in turn, started the cycle of falling in and out of prison. During this time she also became involved in an abusive relationship, and had a child. Despite this, the cycle of falling in and out of prison continued.

During one term in prison, Jane came in contact with the CARAT (Counselling, Assessment, Referral, Advice and Throughcare) team and realised that cocaine was ruining her life. On leaving prison, Jane started to go to Narcotics Anonymous meetings and attended a local voluntary sector drug agency, and after some time, finally stopped using cocaine.

Jane is now at college and is doing her final year of a 3-year computing course. Jane says she “now looks for the solutions, and doesn’t live in the problem”.

If you need advice, information or support regarding drugs and alcohol you can talk to FRANK on 0800 77 66 00. FRANK is a free national 24hour helpline available 7 days a week.