Cocaine is a highly addictive drug, and it can be incredibly dangerous. In fact, the number of deaths from cocaine doubled in three years between 2015 and 2018.
Apart from having the potential to be fatal due to drug poisoning, cocaine use can have a number of other consequences for your health.
Cocaine users may be risking problems such as heart damage, even when using cocaine casually. Snorting cocaine causes damage to the cartilage in the nose over time, while smoking crack cocaine can lead to breathing difficulties and chest pains.
Injecting cocaine can damage veins and present a risk of infection from HIV or hepatitis. Mixing cocaine with heroin (speedballing) can also prove to be fatal. In addition to affecting physical health, addiction to cocaine can also have a far-reaching effect on other parts of your life, including work and personal relationships.
Statistics for Cocaine Related Deaths in the UK
The rate of deaths in England and Wales related to cocaine has risen sharply since 1993 – more so than any other drug. In 2018, they were at their highest ever level.
In 2018, the numbers were higher for the seventh consecutive year. In 2011, there were 1.9 deaths per million people due to cocaine, whereas in 2018, this number had risen to 11.1 deaths per million people.
This graph from Statista shows the number of deaths in England and Wales related to cocaine from 1993 to 2018. In 1993, just 11 deaths were recorded, but this number has risen to 637 by 2018.
This shows just a partial picture of cocaine deaths in the UK, covering just two of the countries. In Scotland, which has the highest drug death rate in the EU, there has also been a rise in deaths related to cocaine.
In 2018, there were 273 cocaine-related deaths. In Northern Ireland, drug-related deaths are also at their highest. In 2018, they increased to 28 from 13 in 2017, which is the highest number on record.
Factors in Rising Death Rates
There are several factors that might play into the rising numbers of cocaine death statistics. One factor is that the purity level for cocaine is higher than ever, according to the National Crime Agency.
Another factor that contributes to the mortality rate is that cocaine is the second most used substance after cannabis. The numbers may also be affected by cuts to funding for drug abuse treatment in the UK.
According to the Office of National Statistics, it is also important to consider the way that deaths are recorded.
More than 50% of deaths related to drug poisoning and drug misuse in 2018 occurred prior to that year, as it can take a long time for the coroner to complete the inquest into the death and record it.
The death cannot be registered until the inquest is complete, which can take months or even years.
However, even when taking this into account, it is clear to see that the number of cocaine deaths in the UK has risen over the years.