FROM football terraces and building sites to factories and offices, cocaine use is rife.
Once a posh dinner-party fix, the white powder is now easier to get, cheaper and more socially acceptable. Chances are YOU know someone who indulges.
Here we have created a diary of the past week in cocaine UK, revealing the death and destruction caused by criminals making millions[/caption]
The UK is Europe’s coke capital — with one in ten adults admitting taking the Class A drug. Deaths connected to it have quadrupled since 2011 and coke-linked mental health cases in England have trebled in the past decade. Drugged drivers and street thugs wreak havoc on a daily basis.
This week The Sun Online is running an End Of The Line campaign to boost awareness.
Here is a diary of the past week in cocaine UK, revealing the death and destruction caused by criminals making millions.
MONDAY: DRUG DOCTOR STRUCK OFF
JUNIOR doctor Tim Kerr’s career lies in ruins as he was struck off last Monday — over his involvement in importing and selling cocaine.
Kerr, 29, had hidden his secret from patients and colleagues at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle. He had started abusing drugs at university then teamed up with pal Adrian Day to buy Class A highs on the dark web, which they sold on to users.
But they were stopped at Manchester airport after a ski break to Austria and Day had £2,000 in cash. When officers searched his Cheshire home they found cocaine, ecstasy and ketamine. Phone records showed Kerr was his accomplice.
Kerr, who last year was given four and a half years’ jail for his crime, has now learned he will never again work as a doctor. A disciplinary panel ruled patients “would not expect a lesser sanction”.
Giving evidence, Kerr said prison was “a horrible place” but he admitted: “People die when they take the drugs I was selling. I am fundamentally a good person who did something incredibly egregious during a difficult period in my life. There is no excuse.”
TUESDAY: PUPILS’ COKE USE SOARING
WORRIED secondary school headteachers in Hertfordshire sent an open letter to parents warning of an “alarming growth” in cocaine and ketamine use by pupils.
They say social media makes it easier for youngsters to obtain drugs, especially in a relatively affluent county such as theirs.
The letter cautions: “Signing up to an Instagram feed or linking on Snapchat or WhatsApp would enable anyone interested to receive constant updates, several times a day, on what is available locally and its pricing.
“From that point, purchase and delivery is just one or two clicks away.”
The alert comes after an anonymous whistle-blower teaching at a Harpenden school told a local newspaper that pupils as young as 15 were dealing cocaine for cash.
The schools signed up to the letter all have a zero-tolerance policy on drugs but Spencer Lewis, head of Yavneh College, Boreham-wood, said: “We are concerned about a societal problem and challenge for all young people. Parents need the correct information, hence our letter.”
WEDNESDAY: TRACES BY MPS’ BAR
EVEN the HOUSE OF COMMONS — where MPs lay down the law on drugs — are not safe from the scourge of cocaine abuse.
Investigators from current affairs documentary website Vice swabbed nine areas of the building and coke residue was found in four.
These included toilets outside the Strangers Bar which is accessible only to MPs and high-ranking officials — and the Norman Shaw North building which includes the offices of Jeremy Corbyn, though there is no suggestion the party is aware of drug abuse going on there.
One anonymous Commons staffer said: “It’s a known thing [that drug use] happens in offices.”
THURSDAY: 31 DAWN RAIDS ON DEALERS’ DENS
THE deadly human toll of cocaine is on the rise behind the grand facades of affluent Edinburgh.
Battling to curb a steeply increasing death count, police this week busted 31 suspected dealers, seizing drugs worth £1.2million and £250,000 in cash.
The operation by officers in riot gear comes as figures this month are expected to show that for the first time in Scotland there were more than 1,000 drug deaths in the past year. There were 934 in 2017 — double the rate ten years earlier.
To save lives, Edinburgh has launched Operation Threshold where police and support workers will visit anyone taken to hospital after a drug overdose. Junkies will be offered help to get clean while cops go in hard against dealers and traffickers. Det Supt Martin MacLean said: “We don’t yet know if this will work but the hope is we will reduce these incidents.”
WHERE TO GO FOR HELP
Helpline open 24/7: 0300 123 6600
For help finding a service or to Instant chat
Change, Grow, Live
Help for anyone with drug and alcohol issues.
Dedicated help for people under 25.
Mental health support line: 0300 304 7000
Action on Addiction
Rehab and community addiction treatment
0300 330 0659
Help for families affected by drugs and alcohol
FRIDAY: BRAIN DAMAGED IN DRUG SMASH
GRANDAD Steven Swales was left with brain damage and in a wheelchair by a driver high on cocaine, who was jailed this week.
Roofer Paul Jones, 34, was also twice the drink-drive limit as his Audi veered across the road in Snodland, Kent, into an oncoming tanker — which then hit a car driven by Steven, 61, who had been on his way to work.
As Steven struggled for life, Jones fled — only returning to the scene later while swigging from a whisky bottle. Steven was left with multiple injuries that mean he needs 24-hour care.
His wife Julie said: “The sight of Steve and his injuries will haunt us forever. We’ve been robbed of our future.” On Friday, Jones was jailed for three years and banned from driving for four and a half years.
Meanwhile, a cocaine dealer thought to have been on the run for 18 months was found at his home in Cardiff.
Abdirisak Abdillahi, 22, who sold drugs to an undercover cop three times, was thought to have fled the UK but was spotted by a police community support officer — and later jailed for four years.
SATURDAY: MAN KILLED BY HIGH FRIEND
INSURANCE worker Tom Noakes was bludgeoned to death with a prosecco bottle by a coked-up colleague — and now his family have been dealt fresh anguish after an inquest failed to establish a motive for the killing.
Tom, 29, had gone to a Manchester hotel room with Hayden Fitzpatrick, 21, after a night out with pals to celebrate a friend’s birthday last September.
Tom Noakes was bludgeoned to death with a prosecco bottle by a coked-up colleague in a Manchester hotel room[/caption]
Haydn Fitzpatrick battered Tom with the bottle — and then killed himself by jumping out of a window of the fifth-floor room[/caption]
Raddled with booze and cocaine, Fitzpatrick repeatedly struck Tom with the bottle — and then killed himself by jumping out of a window of the fifth-floor room.
A coroner was unable to establish the motive and recorded a verdict of unlawful killing.
Tom’s family said his death left a “gaping hole”.
Mum Angela Noakes said: “All we wanted to know was ‘why’ and we will never know.”
SUNDAY: GANG’S ‘SALES REP’ STABBED
A FORMER Royal Navy sailor revealed his hell as a cocaine gang “sales rep” — including twice being beaten up in his car, once in a house, and getting stabbed in the cheek with scissors.
Martin Wiltshire, 47, was given a company car and £18,000 of drugs as his “salary”. He said: “I used to buy drugs and my intake got more and more, and these people said, ‘If you work for us, you can get your drugs off us’ — like a wage.”
The gang gave him a phone and he was sent texts telling him where to deliver cocaine.
Wiltshire, from Kenilworth, Warwickshire, is now serving two and a half years in jail.
Meanwhile a man who clashed with a Hereford dealer was stabbed on the orders of drug rival Artaf Hussain.
Hussain, 33, had been serving at least 25 years’ jail for the murder — and has now been given nine more after he was exposed as the head of the “Scooby” drug line which trafficked £300,000 of cocaine to Hereford from the West Mids.
MOST READ IN NEWS
HOW COKE DAMAGES YOUR BODY
COCAINE wreaks havoc on the body from the moment it is snorted, smoked or injected.
Within seconds it enters the bloodstream and begins its assault on the brain.
The euphoric high is very short-lived, lasting between 20 and 30 minutes – which is why the Class A narcotic is so addictive. The more it is used, the more the brain adapts to it, meaning users need a stronger dose to feel the same high next time around.
In the long-term, this can cause changes in the brain’s chemistry as the body comes to rely on the drug.
So, what exactly is going on in the body from the moment cocaine is taken?
Here we break it down minute by minute.
5 MINUTES LATER
COCAINE works by speeding up the central nervous system, which controls most of the functions of the body and mind.
When snorted in powder form, it can take five minutes to kick in whereas the effects of smoking crack – the crystal form – are almost instant.
1O MINUTES LATER
THE drug fully takes hold – making users feel invincible. The brain releases a number of neurochemicals which induce euphoria, talkativeness, and confidence.
For crack cocaine, the effects will have already come to an end after ten minutes, with the peak hitting about two minutes after it is smoked.
30 MINUTES LATER
AS the high starts to wear off, many users will want further doses in order to maintain the effects they experienced.
With continued use, people can quickly build up a tolerance and, over time, it will take larger amounts of the drug for them to get the same level of narcotic high.
60 MINUTES LATER
BY now the effects of taking the drug will probably have worn off.
In casual users, heart rate, blood pressure and mood tend to return to normal.
90 MINUTES LATER
THIS is when the “crash” can start to kick in, with feelings of exhaustion, increased appetite, restlessness and irritability.
The experience of the comedown will vary depending on the purity of the cocaine and the individual person’s sensitivity to the drug. It can last up to a few days.
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