22 Jan 2024

Crack cocaine addiction is a pressing issue that continues to impact communities across the United Kingdom. According to World population review, the UK ranks in the top three countries for largest cocaine usage at 2.67%.

Understanding the statistics surrounding crack cocaine use is crucial in addressing the scope of the problem and developing effective solutions. In this blog, we will delve into the current statistics on crack cocaine addiction in the UK, exploring whether there is an upward trend, examining potential reasons behind any rise in addiction rates, discussing available treatments, and providing guidance on seeking help. For additional information on crack cocaine addiction, be sure to visit our Crack Cocaine Addiction page.

Is Crack Cocaine Use on the Rise?

The first aspect we'll explore is the prevalence of crack cocaine use in the UK. By analysing recent statistics, we aim to determine whether or not there is a concerning upward trend in addiction rates.

In England, the amount of crack users has increased 10 percent between 2010 and 2015, reaching 182,828 individuals, according to Liverpool John Moores University Public Health Institute.

However, in more recent government research, following a pattern of 2021, there has been a fall in the overall number of adults entering treatment for crack cocaine. This fall only includes people who are using crack with opiates (21,308 to 18,832). Those who are using crack without opiates saw a small increase (4,545 to 4,711).

Understanding the scale of the issue is crucial for developing targeted interventions and support systems.

What Are the Reasons Behind the Rise in Addiction Rates?

Cause #1: Social and Economic Factors

One possible cause for the rise in crack cocaine addiction could be linked to social and economic factors. High levels of unemployment, poverty, and social inequality may contribute to individuals turning to substance abuse as a coping mechanism.

By looking at data research, ‘Estimates of opiate and crack use in England: main points and methods’ In 2019 to 2020, the highest rate of opiate-only users was in the North East with 9.8 per 1,000 population. This was more than double the national average rate of 4.6. Yorkshire and the Humber and the North West followed with 6.4 and 6.1 respective opiate-only users per 1,000 population. London, the North West and Yorkshire and the Humber had the highest rates of crack use, either on its own or with opiates.

Recent data shows that the prevalence of drug use varies by household characteristics, such as household income. Those earning less than £10,400 per year were more likely to use a drug in the last year (15.2%) than those with higher incomes.

According to government research, in their 2019 report, ‘Increase in crack cocaine use inquiry: summary of findings‘ some users explained that their drug dealers were aware of the dates that they received their benefit payment and would phone them in the morning on that date to take their order.

Service users in some areas reported that there were so many drug dealers competing for business that they were often prepared to offer credit.

This highlights how dealers target those who may be unemployed or living in poverty who may be vulnerable to buying and using crack cocaine.

Cause #2: Accessibility and Availability

The accessibility and availability of crack cocaine play a significant role in addiction rates. We'll explore how changes in drug distribution networks, law enforcement efforts, and other factors may influence the ease with which individuals can access and succumb to crack cocaine addiction.

Affordability is a significant factor contributing to increased cocaine use. According to government research, a standard price for 3 bags or wraps (with various combinations of crack and heroin) is around £20 to £25. Some reported being able to buy crack for ‘pocket money prices’, such as £5 per rock. There were also drug treatment workers who said that the purity of crack had gone up in recent years, while the purity of heroin in their local area had gone down, and this made crack use more appealing.

The UK government publication research established that the rise in the number of people seeking treatment for crack cocaine addiction likely reflected an increase in the use of crack. The report stated, the increase in the number of new users may be in part caused by changes in purity and affordability of crack cocaine over the last few years.

Cause #3: Mental Health Issues

Mental health concerns are often intertwined with substance abuse. Individuals grappling with mental health challenges may turn to substances like crack cocaine as a way to self-medicate. We'll examine the complex interplay between mental health and addiction, shedding light on the impact on addiction rates.

According to government research, over two-thirds (70%, or 93,380) of adults starting treatment said they had a mental health treatment need. This is part of a trend of rising numbers over the previous 3 years (from 53% in 2018 to 2019). Two-thirds of new starters in all substance groups needed mental health treatment. This need ranged from 66% in the opiate group to over three-quarters (76%) of the non-opiates and alcohol group.

What Are the Treatments for Crack Cocaine?

For those seeking help with crack cocaine addiction, it's crucial to understand the available treatments.

The number of people entering treatment for crack is now at the lowest level since 2015 to 2016.

People starting treatment in 2021 to 2022 with powder cocaine problems increased by 11% (from 19,209 to 21,298). This is close to the peak number of 21,396 in 2019 to 2020.

From rehabilitation programmes, including those for under 18s, to detox and ongoing support, there are various options individuals can explore on their journey to recovery. Our dedicated blog identifies the treatment options available. For information on life after rehab, check out our dedicated Life After Rehab blog article.

How to Seek Help for a Crack Cocaine Addiction

Seeking help for crack cocaine addiction is a courageous step toward recovery. Whether you're seeking assistance for yourself or a loved one, this section will guide you through the process. We'll cover self-referral options and provide resources for those looking to support friends or family members. If you're ready to take the first step, our contact form is just a click away. Contact us here.