Quite a lot of politicians are in the news these days not for their ability to turn Britain into an independent and prosperous country, but to tell the voters of their cocaine habit which they claim to have enjoyed a few years ago. I’m not in the least surprised, since ordering the stuff has become as easy as hailing a car on Uber, a major report has warned. But the knowledge that the UK is the biggest consumer of the class A drug in Europe is something that should baffle the nation, especially now when the economy is practically at a standstill thanks to the Brexit mania.

One of the reasons for the substance’s increasing popularity is the ease by which it can be obtained via smart phones, the document states, leading to an Uberisation of the market with dealers setting up cocaine-exclusive call centres to supply the drug. The report from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction – an agency of the EU – suggest the UK’s consumption is the worst in the continent, describing the change in how the drug is now distributed.

The document tells how smaller gangs have entered the market by using a range of information technology for ‘dealing’, including social media. It tells that: ‘Entré premiership in the competitive cocaine market is evident from the innovative distribution strategies, such as cocaine-exclusive call centres. The methods reflect trends seen in other areas facilitated by the common use of smart phones – a potential “Uberisation” of the cocaine trade – a competitive market by which sellers compete by offering additional services such as fast or flexible delivery.’

The report reveals how chemical tests of waste water have pinpointed Bristol as having the highest use of cocaine per population out of 10 major cities. The analysis was based on measurements of a chemical called Benzoylecgonine which appears in the urine of cocaine users. These levels were twice as high per 1000 population in Bristol as in Paris, and well above those in Amsterdam, Barcelona and Berlin, although London was not included in the study. Other figures in the report show that almost 5% of 15-34 year olds in the UK used cocaine last year. This was the highest out of four selected countries including France and Spain, which were both at 3% and the Netherlands at 4.5%.

David Raynes, of the National Drug Prevention Alliance, said: ‘Cocaine is a huge problem in the UK and we’re using more than any country in Europe. If you can order a pizza by smart phone then you can order drugs by smart phone. People can advertise via the Internet on the Dark Net.’ Dimitri Auramopoulos, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, said: ‘Drugs remain a constantly evolving multi-faceted threat to our societies. We need a more coordinated approach but we also need to look at the role of digitalisation in the drug market.’

Prolonged cocaine use have been linked to panic attacks, irritability and psychosis – where an individual loses touch with reality and has hallucinations. Regularly snorting the drug can damage the sense of smell and nasal septum, which separates the nostrils. In addition to its personal effects, cocaine distribution has been blamed for the surge in knife crime and the proliferation of county-line gangs. In March, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Cressida Dick declared: ‘Users of the drug have blood on their hands’. She also said, ‘There is misery throughout the drug supply trail.’ The media has highlighted that drugs, including cocaine, are being increasingly distributed by county-line criminal networks which use children as couriers.

Cocaine Britain is no joke. We are going though a phase where nothing is where it should be. We must wake up and stop this terrible decline, or we will fall into an abyss from which it would take years to readjust.

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