CRACK cocaine use in Trafford is bucking a national increase which experts predict will soon see the number of crack addicts outnumbering heroin and alcohol abusers combined.

It is also claimed that buying crack cocaine in Trafford is easier than ordering a pizza.

That is just one of the findings in a new report by Public Health England (PHE) which reveals a huge rise in crack use nationwide.

However, for the period 2016/2017, 526 people in Trafford were using crack, compared to 559 in 2014/15.

Eleanor Roaf, Trafford Council’s interim director of public health, said: “While we are obviously concerned about any use of crack cocaine, the report describes how its use has, if anything, slightly decreased in Trafford since 2014/2015, with rates lower than either the England or the North West averages.”

She added: “We are committed to reducing this further, and Trafford Council works with organisations that come into contact with crack cocaine users to encourage them to access drug and other public health services.

“This includes working closely with the police and health and social care partners to support users and their families. We take a supportive approach to tackling all drug and alcohol addiction across Trafford, with a tailored response to meet the needs of different groups. For example we have Early Break, the drug and alcohol service specifically for young people. We are particularly concerned about people who combine cocaine and alcohol, as this substantially increases heart attack risk. “

Rosanna O’Connor, director for drugs, alcohol, tobacco and justice at PHE, said: “This report will come as no surprise to those working on the frontline who will have seen first-hand this surge in crack use in their communities.”

Nationally, the number of users of the drug has rocketed by 8.5 per cent between 2011 to 2012 and 2016 to 2017, from 166,640 to 180,748, while treatment for crack cocaine addiction has also risen by 19 per cent.

Health experts are blaming the rise on people being able to buy crack for ‘pocket money prices’ of £5 per rock and on being able to have the drug delivered quicker than a pizza.

Addiction treatment experts UKAT believe their admissions for crack cocaine addiction will overtake heroin and alcohol combined in the near future because of the price tag and ease of access;

Eytan Alexander, CEO of UKAT, said: “We’re treating more and more people for crack cocaine addiction because of its low price tag and accessibility.

“People can buy it with one click. It’s extremely potent and because users develop a high tolerance to the drug after just a few uses, it’s highly addictive.

“Looking ahead, we think we could treat more people this year for crack addiction than heroin and alcohol combined, and that in itself is huge.”

PHE worked in collaboration with service users, drug treatment workers and the police to establish the extent of the problem.

Worryingly, it was discovered that crack is pushed onto heroin users by dealers who are offering a “try before you buy” scheme. Under this, free samples of crack are given to addicts when they but their heroin as a way of hooking them in.

Some users reported that there were so many drug dealers competing for business that they were often prepared to offer credit, giving addicts “tick” until they can pay.

Crack is now more widely available than in the past, with a ready supply from dealers and fast delivery described as “quicker than a pizza”. Dealers increasingly operate around the clock and will take orders and deliver at any time of day.

One user revealed that he had the numbers of several dealers on his mobile phone, and, if he had to wait for more than an hour for one to deliver his drugs, he would try a different dealer next time.

The report also highlights a “clear evidence that crack use, production and purity is on the rise” with people being able to buy crack for ‘pocket money prices’ of £5 per rock.

Worryingly, the 2018 World Drug Report by the United Nations Office for Drugs Control showed a staggering 56% increase in global cocaine production between 2013 and 2016.

Crack use is often linked to unemployment and homelessness, and to sex work for women. Predominantly though, the main user group is white British; crack is rarely used in ethnic minority communities

The study showed that in some areas of the country more young people were using crack as a “first drug of choice” and that more young males were coming to treatment services with crack problems.

Crack cocaine is created by mixing cocaine with ammonia, baking soda and water. As the water dissolves, dried crystals, known as crack cocaine, form. These crystals range in colour from yellow to pale rose to white.

Crack is usually heated and smoked. It is referred to as “crack” because of the sound it makes when heated. Some users snort the powder while others dissolve it in water and then inject it.

Like with cocaine itself, dealers often cut other powders in with the crack to boost their profits. But crack is the most potent form of cocaine and in its pure form it is 75 per cent and 100 per cent stronger than regular cocaine.

Worryingly, crack cocaine purity in England and Wales rose from 36 per cent to 71 per cent between 2013 and 2016.

Historically, cocaine was the preserve of rock and film stars and others who had great wealth. However, crack cocaine is significantly cheaper than cocaine meaning it a lot more attractive and accessible. Typically, a gramme of cocaine costs between £30 and £40, whereas as a rock of crack cocaine costs between £10 and £20.

Dealers often sell crack at an initially low price but once the user becomes hooked the dealers up their prices knowing that addicts will pay.



KATE Hall, head of operations for substance misuse services at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are aware of the figures from the Public Health Eng-land report and they do mirror what we experience in our sub-stance misuse work.

“Figures show that overall, the number of individuals who have started treatment with us, around 20 per cent are citing crack cocaine as the problem substance.

“The reasons for this can be numerous and complex and there is no easy way of rationalising why a person becomes addict-ed to a particular drug. This is why our services at Achieve of-fer bespoke packages of care for anyone who needs help. We work with a number of partners to not just address the clinical side of addiction but also support with hous-ing, employment and education – things which we know are vital for people to live an improved life and break the cycle of addiction.

“For those who need it, individuals can be referred to our Chapman-Barker Substance Misuse Unit in Prestwich for a full, medically managed detox. Our specialist staff can help support people to become medically fit enough to begin their recovery pathway and embrace all aspects of the community help and support which Achieve can offer.

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Smoking crack produces a faster, more intense high than snorting does because it reaches the bloodstream and brain more quickly.

Common side effects of crack include sudden death due to heart attack or stroke, aggressive and paranoid behaviour, ab-dominal pain, depression and anxiety.

The long-term effects of using crack can cause severe dam-age to the heart, liver and kidneys. Users are more likely to have infectious diseases.

Users suffer sleep deprivation and loss of appetite, often re-sulting in malnutrition. Smoking crack cocaine also can cause aggressive and paranoid behaviour.

Crack is highly addictive and because of its effects it is possi-ble to become addicted after only taking it once.

Coming down from the drug causes severe depression, which becomes deeper and deeper after each use. This can get so severe that a person will do almost anything to get the drug and if they can’t get crack cocaine, the depression can get so intense it can drive the addict to suicide.