Cocaine- the New Caffeine?

Now I would be lying if I said I don’t need a quick fix first thing in the morning in the shape of a good old cup of joe. But how many of us rely on substances of the illegal variety to supply us with the energy to get through the day?

Studies frequently reveal that the UK has the highest cocaine use in Europe, and in recent years there has been a dramatic increase in the numbers of women indulging in the drug.

The ongoing high-profile dispute between Nigella Lawson and her ex-husband Charles Saatchi has raised questions about the nature of drug use in middle-class women. The controversial case seems to have exacerbated fears that outwardly successful highly-motivated women are resorting to using class A drugs in order to maintain their busy lifestyles.

Headlines inform us that middle-class women are in the grip of an alarming epidemic in cocaine use. While some may dismiss this as sensationalist journalism, it is undeniable that the number seeking NHS help for addiction to the Class A drug has leapt by 50 per cent in two years.

The areas most affected by this new trend are the traditional ‘home counties’ surrounding London. These are the areas in which officers issue the most cautions for cocaine possession to women. It is no surprise that these areas are home to many high-flying professionals who rely on cocaine to fuel their demanding careers in the City. Cocaine has become easier and cheaper in the past decade. However, it has retained some of its ‘glamorous’ connotations. It seems as though cocaine has gone from being to a vice of the rich and famous to a quick fix for busy middle-class workers.

The motivation behind the decision to use cocaine is twofold: the drug may be relied on by high-achieving workers to help achieve the results they need. Alternatively, cocaine has become a popular fix, allowing solvent individuals to maintain high energy levels at parties and social gatherings. The result is that it has gained unprecedented social acceptability within middle-class professional circles.

However, as with other drugs, occasional use of cocaine can spiral into an addiction which may become out of control. Frequent users of cocaine can experience anxiety, insomnia and heart palpitations. The risks may increase when the drug is combined with alcohol.

Those who rely on the drug view it as an easy fix, a quick way of boosting their energy levels and increasing their output. These people should take time to consider the wider implications of their habit. The production and trading of the drug is responsible for countless murders and kidnappings  every year in Columbia and Peru: the world’s largest producers of cocaine.

It’s difficult to know how this alarming trend could best be tackled. This new cocaine-taking demographic are educated professionals, but the recent uptake of cocaine by the middle-classes may signal a need for more education on the effects of the drug on an individual’s health, and the worldwide consequences of its trade.

I think I’ll just be sticking to stick to my coffee for now.




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