Link between cocaine and disorder at football games
There has been an established link between disorder at football games and increasing cocaine use in society, according to Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts, the UK’s lead on football policing. Over the past two seasons, disorder at football matches has increased (45%), and has been linked to the increase prevalence of cocaine use inside stadiums.
According to the Home Office, 2.6% of 16 – 59 year olds took cocaine in 2017-18, up 2.4% in 2013-14. The drug in the UK is becoming cheaper, purer and more accessible than before. A senior football official said, when speaking with The Independent, that it is the “massive elephant in the room”, with police sources claiming that it is “rife” at football grounds across the country.
Football policing units carry out drug checks inside football stadiums with drug detection dogs and swabbing areas such as toilets. Arrests are made at the football grounds for drug possession. In 2017, cocaine related arrests at football grounds more than doubled from 32 to 68. These numbers may seem small, however DCC Mark Roberts says a reduction in match day policing, due to budget constraints, is the reason for these low numbers. 50% of games are either police-free (11.3%) or spotter only (39.3%).
Inspector Andy Bridgewater, the head of West Midlands’ Police football unit, believes there is a real cocaine problem stating that “there is a really strong correlation today between cocaine use and football-related violence.”
Overall disorder incidents at matches jumped 36% in 2016-17 and again last year, while cocaine-related deaths in England and Wales increased in 2017 for the sixth year in a row, from 112 in 2011 to 432 in 2017.
Using Randox Toxicology’s revolutionary Biochip Array Technology, the Evidence MultiSTAT is an automated analyser that enables detection of a wide variety of multiple drug groups and provides simultaneous on-site screening with our CE marked urine and blood panels. As minimal sample preparation is required, qualitative results can be provided in less than 20 minutes, offering an effective toxicology screen for cocaine and other drugs/drug metabolites.
Newly emerged figures from Public Health England have documented that the UK’s current approach to drug treatment has failed to reduce drug related deaths. With UK drug abuse now at an all-time high, 2017 saw a 23% increase in treatment presentations for crack cocaine use, according to The Conversation. An additional article by the Business Insider UK reported that seizures related to cocaine in Britain are now at their highest since 2008.
Crack cocaine is a powerful stimulant designed to temporarily speed up the mind and body. Freebase cocaine (powder cocaine) and crack cocaine (rock form cocaine) can both be smoked to reach the brain quicker, whilst snorting the substance causes a slower effect. A very addictive substance, cocaine is reported to make a user over confident and careless with risks including, breathing and mental health problems, depression and the risk of an overdose related death. When taken in conjunction with alcohol the dangers of cocaine are increased, as the mixture produces the toxic chemical, cocaethylene.
The Conversation highlighted “Cuts to drug treatment budgets are extremely shortsighted. Not only do effective services save lives, they reduce the spread of blood-borne viruses, including HIV. About half of people who inject drugs have hepatitis C. Getting them into treatment is an essential part of plans to eliminate the disease.” At Randox Toxicology we offer the most comprehensive drugs of abuse test menu across multiple matrices. Our DoA ULTRA panel detects up to 20 targeted drugs, offering the largest cross-reactivity profile of over 240 analytes, including Benzoylecgonine/Cocaine. Benzoylecgonine is the most common metabolite measured in urine drug screens to detect cocaine. Using our revolutionary Biochip Array Technology, Randox Toxicology provide cutting-edge multiplex testing capabilities for rapid and accurate drug detection from a single sample.
The price of cocaine has fallen by 13% since 2007 according to Business Insider UK. Price trends in addition to new and emerging UK supply routes have made the drug more appealing and readily available. Whilst the average age group using cocaine is 35 years old, a 30% increase has been seen in young people under the age of 25 years old. A rise which has not been witnessed in a decade.
The increase of cocaine use has shown how vital drug treatment is in responding to the ever-changing market, with services needing to adapt quickly to the needs of varied groups. Amidst the ongoing cocaine problem, Randox Toxicology are leading the way in developing new tests through significant research and development.
With the demand for cocaine in the UK rocketing, Top British Chef Gordon Ramsay has recently travelled to Columbia to the source of the problem, to learn more about this growing epidemic.
Having spent time with local farmers who own cocaine plants that resemble vineyards, and visiting Honduras, one of the most dangerous countries and known as the world’s warehouse of cocaine, he emphasized the urgent need to combat the drugs industry that is consuming this country.
Highlighted throughout the two-part series was the amount of cocaine that is being trafficked to the shores of the UK each year. Speaking with the metropolitan police who tackle up to 200 drug gangs in London alone, it was estimated that up to 300 tons of cocaine, with a street value of £10 billion, is being brought in to the country through a web of secretive routes used by drug traffickers.
Gordon commented that not only is cocaine a growing global problem, but it is one that is prevalent within the culinary world, including his own restaurants where he has been asked to dust the drug on top of soufflés as icing sugar, and found traces of this deadly drug in both his staff and customer toilets.
With the cocaine problem showing no signs of slowing down, Randox Toxicology are constantly working to develop the newest drug tests to meet the demands of the ever-growing drug market. The Evidence MultiSTAT was developed for use in non-laboratory settings such as workplaces, police stations and low throughput laboratories and to provide highly accurate qualitative as quickly as possible.
This revolutionary analyser enables on-site simultaneous detection of up to 21 classical, prescription and synthetic drugs from a single patient sample, reducing the burden on current systems, the risk of adulteration and helping the fight against the cartels who control the cocaine trade in South America.
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