11% of UK banknotes are reported to be ‘tainted with cocaine, up from 4% in 2005. The drug is believed to be consumed more frequently in the UK than in any other European country, fuelling concerns of a serious epidemic.
Some critics blame longer pub opening hours for the rise in cocaine use, arguing that people use the drug in order to try to stay awake. Cocaine is said to be increasingly cut with MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine) – the active ingredient in ecstasy – in order to provide a bigger buzz.
Most of the cocaine sold in the UK is impure. An ounce of 25% pure cocaine bought for £1,000 can then be ‘bulked out’ to 47 grams of 15% purity, enabling it to be sold for £1,880 an ounce, generating an even greater profit.