Scotland has been depicted as the cocaine capital of the world in a new documentary looking into the usage of the drug.
The Scottish government last year committed £250 million into tackling drug deaths in Scotland, but in the first three months of 2022 rates remained at a 'similar level' to the previous two quarters, with 285 deaths thought to be related to drugs so far this year.
In 2018, the Scottish Drugs Forum surveyed 130,000 people across 44 countries, including 1300 people in Scotland, and found 61.9 percent of Scottish respondents reported ever using cocaine, 51.7 percent in the last year. In comparison, just 25 percent of respondents globally reported using cocaine, 17 percent in the last year.
This week, a documentary by Vice looked into Scots' usage of the drug and noted that users in the country take an estimated 1.2g of cocaine per session - double the global average.
A low-level dealer in Glasgow said 'so many young people' in the city take cocaine, describing it as a 'regular and normal thing' to do as residents 'just party hard'.
The dealer described how he drives around the city 'literally all day' to fulfil his orders, while a user in Glasgow said it is 'easy' to get his hands on the Class A drug.
As well as sniffing the drug in a powdered form users have been known to inject the substance using needles, which has led to an outbreak of HIV. Another user, Joe, from Edinburgh, said he has been injecting cocaine for 'about a year' due to his desire to get the drug into his system more quickly.
1. The number of lives lost to drugs is unacceptable, each one a human tragedy. @scotgov does not shirk the responsibility & we are determined to make changes that will save lives. These 2020 figures (though no less shameful because of it) predate actions set out at start of year— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) July 30, 2021
Buying £100 worth of coke would last him '15, 20 minutes', and Joe fuels his habit by shoplifting and selling his stolen goods.
A higher-level dealer in Glasgow said coke is entering the country from other UK cities such as Liverpool and Manchester, and dismissed huge raids made by police as insignificant in the grand scheme of things, saying: "When one person's shut down, another person's going to move into that area. Simple as that."
As part of Scotland's plans to tackle the issue, Nicola Sturgeon announced the country would seek to increase the number of residential rehabilitation beds in Scotland, increase the number of people receiving treatment, and allocate funds directly to Alcohol and Drug Partnerships to improve work directly in communities.
The first minister described the issue as a 'national disgrace' and accepted criticism that the government 'should have done more earlier'.