A new research has revealed that more than one in every 10 banknotes in circulation in the UK has traces of cocaine powder.
An official inquiry carried out by the Home Office's Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) has found a startling rise in the misuse of drugs, in particular traces of the Class A drug, since 2005. The inquiry found 11 percent of banknotes in general circulation had tested positive for traces of cocaine against four percent in 2005.
During a delayed ACMD evidence session on Thursday, police experts said cocaine, presently being sold on the streets and in clubs, was being cut with MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine) which is an active ingredient in ecstasy. Since 2005, the Class A drug has been commonly consumed such that drug users stay awake and not fall asleep or "keep going on a night out."
Based on a testing by 15 police forces, the official findings reinforce the use of cocaine powder in Britain and have dubbed it as the "cocaine capital of Europe."
The study found that use of the Class A drug was higher in England and Wales than anywhere on the continent over the last two years.
According to the annual report of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), at least 4.8 percent of people in England and Wales have taken the drug at some point in their life. The EMCDDA report said that though the use of ecstasy and amphetamine use was stable or declining across Europe, yet new synthetic substances were "continually being developed."
The drug level, as seen in Britain, is above than the levels seen in the U.S. and Australia, the Guardian reports.
Meanwhile, police officers argue that the longer pub hours since 2006 is the main reason for the rise in consumption of cocaine powder.
During the inquiry, it was revealed that cocaine, ranging with a purity of 15 percent to 30 percent, was sold in £20 or £30 deals for 0.4 grams or 0.6 grams. With growing profit margins on cocaine cut with other substances, the inquiry was made familiar with the use of cocaine as a thriving business aimed at financing human trafficking and other organised crime.
According to a Guardian report, a kilo of 75 percent pure cocaine powder would be purchased at £52,000 and sold for £1,500 an ounce in the drugs market to gain a profit of £54,000.
In an attempt to maximise profits, 106 ounces of cocaine would be sold for £1,000 each to make a profit of £106,000. In the drugs market, an ounce of 25 percent pure cocaine bought for £1,000 could be "bulked out" to 47 grams of 15 percent purity to sell for £1,880 an ounce.
Experts have warned that the use of cocaine, which is highly addictive, can lead to health problems, including heart attacks, strokes, brain seizures, damage to the liver, paranoia, anxiety and depression.