SCOTLAND is being flooded with cocaine laced with harmful additives that could be putting users’ lives at risk.
The study by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs shows that on average cocaine sold in Scotland is only 13.3 per cent pure – half the level of England and Wales and three times lower than the European average.
Scotland has been revealed as the cocaine abuse capital of the world, and last week it was claimed that two 12-year-old boys were seen snorting the substance in their school toilets.
The cocaine ‘extras’ are often drugs used to treat worms in animals and a banned analgesic linked with kidney failure, renal disease and cancer.
But the most common cutting agent is believed to be benzocaine, an anaesthetic which is known to cause choking.
Detective Inspector Tommy Crombie, national drugs co-ordinator at the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, said these “bulking agents” are now commonplace.
He said: “Cocaine is not the ‘clean’ drug some perceive it to be.
“Users can never be sure exactly what they’re taking.
“Drug dealers are greedy and in order to maximise profits they will use a range of adulterants as bulking agents.”
Professor Graeme Pearson, head of Glasgow University’s Institute for the Study of Serious Organised Crime, said: “If someone who is used to a relatively low purity of cocaine suddenly takes something stronger it can cause all sorts of difficulties.
“But cocaine is dangerous no matter how pure it is.”