Cocaine use in Australia has surged in comparison to previous years, according to new research from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre.
In the survey of 22,272 people, a whopping one in 24 Australians say they used cocaine in 2019. The jump in reported use between 2016 and 2019 was the highest on record.
In previous years, New South Wales has come out on top when it comes to the use of the white stuff, but Victoria has now taken that crown.
The research also found the New South Wales consumed a massive three tonnes of cocaine in 2019-20, compared to Victoria's 1.2 tonnes and Queensland's 900kg.
According to SMH: "Cocaine users [in NSW] jumped from 3.4 per cent of those surveyed to 5 per cent between 2016 and 2019, while Victorian use more than doubled from 2.5 per cent of respondents to 5.2 per cent during the same period."
So while NSW consumed more coke, Victoria had a higher percentage of people racking it up their nose.
Officials added that 98 per cent of cocaine users were aged between 20 and 49 and men were more likely to report use than women.
In light of the staggering rise, police have now warned young recreational drug users that their habit subsequently fuels violent organised crime on city streets.
Detective Superintendent Jason Weinstein, the commander of the newly established anti-gangs Raptor Squad, said buying drugs only continued gang conflict in Australia.
"Kids who go out on Friday night and buy a line of coke ... they're really aiding in their own little way the shootings," Superintendent Weinstein said.
Shane Neilson, the ACIC's head of determination for high-risk and emerging drugs, said cocaine use was no longer restricted to wealthier demographics as it had been in the past.
Neilson explained: "There is a total disconnect between a social setting in NSW and the ruthless transnational crime groups that supply cocaine."
Detective Acting Superintendent Jayne Doherty, commander of the NSW Police drug squad, said there was a nativity or 'wilful blindness' among those who use the drug.
She said: "The local dealer might be that nice young bloke but further up the food chain, it's always going back to organised crime."
Dr Amy Peacock from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, who led the analysis of the survey results, said after observing the findings, it was evident that more research and evaluation into the treatment of cocaine addiction was needed.
"Whilst we were aware of reports of increased availability of cocaine, findings of increased harms were concerning, particularly the increased rate of people seeking drug treatment for cocaine-related problems," she said.
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