More Women Using Cocaine in the UK

The Telegraph UK reported that one in 15 women ages 10-25 in England admitted they have tried cocaine, raising concerns that young women will soon overtake men for cocaine use. Unfortunately, cocaine is being considered more glamorous and socially acceptable, with high-profile celebrities like Kate Moss and Amy Winehouse being associated with the drug.

The increase in female cocaine users parallels the recent increase in female binge drinkers. The co-author of the study, Jim McVeigh, says that the findings shouldn’t be surprising because “we have seen the same thing happening with alcohol, which is intrinsically linked with cocaine.”

McVeigh, an epidemiologist at Liverpool John Moores University, also said that cocaine is becoming more widely available and cheaper, and that many women believe they won’t get addicted. “There is also the feeling among women that they can take cocaine on an occasional social basis and not get hooked, but that of course is not necessarily the case, with many ending up experiencing medical problems,” he said.

In 2003, about 4.8 percent of women ages 10-25 in England admitted to having tried cocaine, compared with 8.2 percent of men. By 2006, 6.7 percent of women had taken the drug while the percentage of men decreased to 7.3 percent. Earlier this year, the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System said that the number of women seeing treatment for cocaine addiction has doubled in two years. The Ministry of Justice also says there has been a fivefold increase in the number of females ticketed for possession.

In 2006 and 2007, about 47,000 crack cocaine users were estimated to live in London, which is one and a half time more than the national average. Overall, more impoverished communities were associated with higher levels of drug use and drug treatment than more affluent communities.

Source: Telegraph UK, Women Could Overtake Men for Cocaine Abuse, June 10, 2009

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