Cocaine

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 19th June 2018.

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Photo of Jeff Smith Jeff Smith Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the European Drug Report 2018, published by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction on 7 June 2018, what assessment he has made of the reasons for the rise in cocaine-related deaths in the UK.

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The European Drug Report 2018 publishes national data from around Europe, and includes drug-related deaths data from the Office for National Statistics. This is available at the following link:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsrelatedtodrugpoisoninginenglandandwales/2016registrations

The number of cocaine-related deaths in England and Wales has increased over the last six years. However, this figure includes those deaths involving crack cocaine, and it is unknown which deaths relate to powder cocaine and which relate to crack cocaine. Crack cocaine is often used alongside heroin by the most vulnerable drug users at greatest risk of health harm and death, and heroin deaths are also increasing. Many cocaine deaths are also associated with other drugs.

There has been a recent increase in crack use and Public Health England is working with the Home Office in an England-wide investigation, including an in-depth review in six localities with high crack prevalence, aiming to get a better understanding of the underlying reasons behind the increase, which is expected to lead to improved efforts to reduce crack use and the deaths associated with it.

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