As is the way in modern society, the word ‘drug’ is no longer taboo.  Marijuana is just as popular as alcohol and is enjoyed by all generations and classes; not merely drop-out teens sourcing out highs.  It is impossible to avoid the availability and popularity of the Class B drug, and with The Royal College of Psychiatrists estimating an average of 2 million people in the UK using cannabis, it is no wonder that there is always someone who is more than willing to supply.  Seen as a harmless and relaxing substance, the dangers associated with frequent drug use, such as paranoia, are often forgotten in favour of the high.  Even if you do not use cannabis, it is so accepted within society that no one winces at the mention of it: it’s just there.

However, my summer at home has opened my eyes to the increased use of a rather more serious drug: cocaine.  Maybe it is because I am from Birmingham, but, just through my bar job and catching up on the gossip, I have learnt of the sheer amount of cocaine being dealt and consumed amongst people our age… and older.  People are no longer interested in drinking before and during a night out to get their kicks.  Instead, they have turned to cocaine.

Cocaine is a Class A drug, and due to the relatively short buzz that you get from snorting or smoking it (on average it lasts between 10 and 30 minutes), the temptation to take more is overbearing as the effects begin to wear off.  Consuming cocaine with alcohol poses an even greater threat, as the combination of the two substances creates a toxic chemical within the body called cocaethylene.  Cocaethylene causes euphoria, yet it is also highly cardio toxic, weakening the heart and circulation.

Although the risks are dangerous and deadly, the most menacing aspect of this new craze, however, is the social acceptability that it, too, is rapidly gaining.  Mention a crack head and you instantly picture a tramp or someone from that notorious estate, but this is no longer the case.  More and more cocaine users are classy, decent and glamorous- everything that you aspire to be when growing up, making the appeal of this drug greater to younger generations trying to establish themselves.  One source, who cannot be named, told me about a local pub that she used to work in.  She recalled the staff walking in to start their shift but being instructed by the boss that there was a “present” upstairs for them before they started.  This present was a line of coke, a little ‘pick me up’ before their shift.  She went on to say how the toilets would not flush, yet upon investigating the system herself, found that they were stuffed with packets of cocaine.  Another source told me about their trip to Ibiza where they spent the entire trip on cocaine, whilst a separate source informed me that they love the sensation and have no problem taking it.

Naively, I have always presumed that people grow out of these habits when they have children of their own and responsibilities to uphold.  Devastatingly, this is not the case.  A friend of mine recalled the time they enjoyed taking cocaine with some acquaintances 50 years old.  I know this acquaintance’s child who is of a similar age to me and wonder why he is not into drinking.  Is it because he is tee total; or is it because he has been exposed to the white stuff?  Let’s put it this way: how many 18 year olds do you know who do not like drinking?

Talk to Frank, a confidential website set up to inform about drug abuse, is not shy about the consequences of casually taking cocaine.  One post reads: “I am 25, and my husband is 26. We both use cocaine on a regular basis. It started out as a line here or there on a night out- nothing too major. Now every weekend we “get on it” and within 8 months we have spent about £15,000 on cocaine. That’s not even an exaggeration.”

There is nothing one article can do to prevent the ever growing popularity of this drug or any other.  The risks are out there for everyone to see yet people do not want to know.  Cocaine is gradually edging out of the dark alleys and onto the high street, with young, influential teens admiring the middle class and role models that openly take it.  Celebrities have always been notorious for the rock and roll lifestyle: a lifestyle that is becoming ever more accessible to the likes of you and me.

For help combating a drug problem or if you want to help a friend or relative concerning drugs, visit the following websites for confidential advice: