BRITAIN AND THE FAILED WAR ON DRUGS: BRISTOL, THE COCAINE CAPITAL OF EUROPE
A report published by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction named Bristol as the cocaine capital of Europe by examining traces of the drug in sewage networks. The study estimates 3.5 grams of pure cocaine is consumed per 1,000 people per day in Bristol, compared to Amsterdam at 3.3 grams and London at 2.8 grams. London's cocaine market alone is worth an estimated £1bn a year.
According to the Home Office and the CSEW, the proportion of reported cocaine use among 16 to 24-year-olds has increased from 1.4% in 1996 to 6.2% in 2018/19 in England and Wales. The War on Drugs has clearly had a minimal effect on young people's attitude towards Class-A drugs. As such, cocaine is now the third most commonly consumed illegal psychoactive substance, shortly behind nitrous oxide (8.7%) and cannabis (17.3%).
The increase in cocaine use follows the trend of normalisation of substance abuse, with 1 in 5 people (20.3% of 16-24 y.o.) takingany type of drug in 2018/19, equivocating to 1.3 million people.
However, whereas some substances such as cannabis are relatively safe to use, the increasing popularity of cocaine and its negative consequences has led to a doubling of cocaine-related deaths between 2015 and 2018, rising to 637 people. This is the seventh consecutive year that cocaine-related deaths have risen to a new record high. Total drug-related deaths reached 4,359 in 2018, the highest total since the first survey in 1993.
This data supports the notion that drug abuse continues to rise despite government attempts to counter the crisis. The War on Drugs has failed.