Cocaine strategy 'woefully inadequate'

Police seizures fail to stop flow of cocaine
Police seizures fail to stop flow of cocaine

By staff

The strategy to stop cocaine getting into Britain is "woefully inadequate" and "deeply unambitious", according to an influential group of MPs.

The home affairs committee said little had been done to prevent the drug's "ready availability" on British streets.

The report follows tough words from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, which is concerned the culture around cocaine now pays little heed to the actual danger of the drug.

In a letter to home secretary Alan Johnson, Professor Les Iversen, the new chairman of the council, wrote: "Cocaine is a very harmful drug to individuals and more broadly society and evidence of the continued increasing prevalence of cocaine use is deeply concerning."

Only 12% of supply is being stopped by police, the UK Border Agency and the Serious Organised Crime Agency, according to today's home affairs committee report.

Committee chairman Keith Vaz said: "There can be no relenting in the fight against cocaine trafficking.

"Our evidence overwhelmingly proved that cocaine deserves its Class A status.

"That fact that it seems to have become more socially acceptable and seen as a 'safe', middle-class drug is a myth that must be tackled, with much greater effort put into the demand side of the trade here in the UK."

MPs on the committee were particularly concerned at the mixture of alcohol and cocaine, saying it creates an even more dangerous cocktail. Cocaine use commonly takes place with alcohol.

One in ten adults in England and Wales admit using the drug at some point in their life.


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