Courier cocaine checks: Danger drug is given a cool image by celebs

COCAINE can make users aggressive, paranoid and can be deadly.

Out of all the countries across Europe, Britain is one of the leading consumers of the drug.

The highly-addictive substance has become more fashionable than any other Class A drug in recent years.

Bryan Dent, West Yorkshire Police’s force drugs co-ordinator, said the widely-publicised cocaine use of several celebrities seemed to have helped make the drug “in vogue”.

“Heroin in some circles is seen as a ‘dirty drug’,” he said.

“But cocaine is seen as cool and a less unhealthy option. That is misguided.”

Crack and cocaine users can die from overdoses.

High doses can raise the body’s temperature, cause convulsions and lead to heart failure.

The drug is one of the most common causes of strokes in men under 40.

Risk of overdosing increases if crack is mixed with other drugs or alcohol.

Cocaine is an especially high risk for anybody with high blood pressure or a heart condition. Using cocaine often can make people feel depressed and run down.

It can lead to serious problems with anxiety, paranoia and panic attacks.

Over time, snorting cocaine will seriously damage the septum – the cartilage in the nose that separates the nostrils.

Mr Dent said the quality of the drug was also an issue, with around 80 per cent of cocaine sold at street level not actually cocaine.

He said the average for the drug found in West Yorkshire was around 22 per cent, but that could often be as low in some cases as just 10 per cent.

Often the drug is cut with anaesthetics, some of which have been found to have links to cancer.

According to drugs charity FRANK, cocaine can also be cut with other cheaper stimulants, which provide a cocaine-like buzz, such as speed and caffeine, and other white powders – such as laxatives and veterinary worming tables.

While cocaine does not have the same link to fuelling theft as heroin, the drug can still be associated with causing crime.

Mr Dent said: “You do get a lot of people who are holding down jobs who are into cocaine.

“What does happen is on Friday and Saturday nights, together with alcohol, it can cause violence and public-order issues.”

Because cocaine can make people feel over-confident, they can put themselves in risky situations and leave them vulnerable.

For advice about drugs, call Calderdale Substance Misuse Service on 0800 3286397 or 01422 361111, the Basement Project in Halifax on 01422 383063 or FRANK on 0800 776600.