London drug researcher Dr Fabrizio Schifano revealed this week that deaths linked to cocaine use in the UK, doubled between 2002 and 2003, rising to 87 fatalities in the first six months of 2003.
The drug expert blamed the sharp rise on various factors including increased supply, falling prices and in particular the growing numbers of weekend users, particularly those mixing coke with other drugs. Heavy drinking with the drug really pushes up the level of risk, Dr Schifano told The Guardian this week. Most people take it with alcohol, not realising that it increases the chance of having a stroke or heart attack. Another factor behind cocaines rising popularity could be related to the findings of a new international lifestyle survey by NOP which revealed this week that Brits are currently top of the worldwide table for hedonism. According to the survey over 1 in 3 Brits (38%) qualify as funseekers (individuals focused on immediate gratification, leisure and hedonism; having fun, pleasure, sex, music and enjoying a varied life) compared to 1 in 5 Americans (21%) and 1 in 4 Australians (27%) (PR newswire). However, a sign that the seeds of cocaines decline might already be present in its current mainstream popularity emerged in the shape of a quote from ex-Beatle Sir Paul McCartney, which NME dug up from Playboy magazine in 1984. I used to do coke, but it got too fashionable, darling, amongst the record execs, said Sir Paul. I couldn't handle all that being in the bogs (toilets- slang Ed) with all those creeps.