Cracking Down on Cocaine

Drug support workers in Bournemouth say people who use cocaine aren't coming forward for help because they don't think they've got a problem.

National figures show the number of people being treated for cocaine's rising - but in Bournemouth it's going down.

Last year the number of under 18s coming forward for treatment was zero compared to national figures saying it was rising by 65%. The total number of over 18s seeking treatment fell by a third in the town on the previous year.

But Bournemouth bucking the trend doesn't mean there isn't a cocaine problem. We spoke to Drug and Alcohol support workers who told us people taking cocaine don't believe they've a problem as they see the drug as a bit of fun on a Friday night.

Unlike Heroin, cocaine isn't physically addictive.
But Chris Snelling, Bournemouth's drug and alcohol co-ordinator told Heart it's an emotional addiction. He says that cocaine users are more likely to appear more stable in their everyday lives:

"They are a diferent group to those who use heroin. They can be people who've got a steady job and a family. However, underneath they've got this issue issue of needing to go out  - and its more of a psychological need to go out and have a good time. That's where the drug begins to takes over."

Councilling is the preferred treatment to help cocaine users as they question the reason behind wanting to take the drug in the first place.  

Party Town

As cocaine gets cheaper, Bournemouth's seeing an increase of the white powder being used in the town's bars and clubs. From Hen and Stag parties to weekend holiday makers and students, the drug's now a norm on the local party scene.

The image of the party drug means when it does become a problem, it's not being recognised. Chris told us the full effect of the drug isn't seen until it impacts on the person's life. An extreme high followed by an extreme low is one of the symptoms that may add to subsequent depression, job loss and family breakdown.

If you are worried about cocaine, go to Bournemouth Drug and Alcohol Team or FRANK offers friendly, confidential advice on drugs, 24 hours a day throughout the year on 0800 77 66 00, or online