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Scotland overtakes USA as world’s cocaine capital
Cocaine's grip on Scotland is more widespread than the US
Gavin Docherty and Rod Mills - Express- February 10th 2010

Snorting cocaine - nearly 4% of the Scottish population use the drug on a regular basis according to statistics from the United Nations Woerld Drug ReportThe shocking scale of Scotland’s cocaine problem was laid bare yesterday with figures showing its grip on the country is more widespread than the US.

Previously unseen statistics from last year’s United Nations World Drug Report suggest Scots have the worst cocaine habit per capita in the world.

Researchers found 3.8 per cent of Scots adults used the drug regularly, compared to 2.8 per cent in America, where demand has traditionally fuelled the world’s cocaine industry.

Scotland’s addiction to the deadly drug outstrips all other European neighbours, and is six times worse than that of France, at 0.6 per cent. Only Spain and Italy come close to the level of cocaine use in Scotland, with 3 per cent and 2.2 per cent of their populations using the powerful stimulant, according to the UN figures.

The news appears to confirm a recent university study, which found 100,000 Scots are addicted to cocaine. A separate study shows the country’s drug users spend £1.4billion a year feeding their habit, but when costs related to the NHS, the justice system and care are taken into account, the bill adds up to nearly £3.5billion.

Colombian politician Francisco Santos reveals the disturbing statistics in the BBC Scotland documentary Avalanche: Scotland’s Cocaine Epidemic, to be screened on Sunday on BBC One at 10.25pm.

The anti-drug campaigner, who was kidnapped in 1990 and held captive for nine months by cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar, said: “Scottish police have stepped forward the most and have shown the most resolve to using all types of fight to stop this.”

The documentary claims that consumption of the so-called glamour drug in Scotland has spiraled out of control because America’s drug enforcement agencies have been so successful at winning the battle against suppliers there. This has forced the Colombian drug cartels to seek out fresh markets and Scotland has been targeted.
   
A grim picture is portrayed of the Grampian region, where Aberdeen’s seizures of crack cocaine are up by 700 per cent, and shows how the vast North Sea oil wealth helped the cocaine industry flourish.

Gordon Meldrum, director general of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, said: “The research was a shock to me.” He tells the programme that the SCDEA has identified 367 organised gangs operating in Scotland, “with 241 lawyers and accountants in their pockets.”

Mr Meldrum added: “There is a genuine perception that there are only dealers in Scotland and we don’t have serious and organised crime gangs – whereas the reverse is the accurate picture.” The UN survey found cocaine use in England and Wales stood at 2.3 per cent, Argentina’s level was 2.6 per cent and Denmark’s stood at one per cent.

See also:
Hepatitis C warning over snorting cocaine
A new high for the UK
Our Columbian habit
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