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Women Lead England’s Rise In Cocaine Users

Cocaine use in England rose sharply in the five years leading up to 2008, according to a report released Wednesday. The average of English individuals aged 16 to 59 who had used cocaine at least once in their lifetime was 55.7 per thousand people in 2002-2003, but over five years it rose to 72.5 per thousand people. And leading the rise are women, whose consumption of coke almost matched the men’s. The amount of women aged 10 to 25 who had used cocaine in their lifetime was 4.8 percent in 2003, compared with 8.2 percent of men. In 2006, the percentage of women was 6.66, compared with 7.2 percent of men. The study cites three reasons for the rise in use: cheapness, availability, and increased social acceptance. About $70 now buys a gram of coke in England, whereas in the ’80s, a gram cost about $160. “We’re very much in an age of chemical enhancement and a pill for every ill,” said Jim McVeigh, head of substance use at the Center for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University. So, he added, cocaine is just viewed as another accepted chemical compound. Researchers also say women used cocaine as they became more independent and drank more — drinking and snorting going hand in hand. [Reuters]

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