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Healthcare professionals concerned about cocaine use

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The National Poisons Information Service (NPIS) has reported a rise in the number of enquiries from healthcare professionals asking for advice on how to treat cocaine abuse.

NPIS data has recorded a progressive year on year increase in the proportion of its workload relating to cocaine.

TOXBASE, the organisation’s online database, has witnessed accesses regarding the drug rise from below 0.1% in 2000 to around 0.25% in 2007/8.

Cocaine enquires are rising in relation to other drugs including MDMA (ecstasy) which have dropped from approximately 1.4% to less than 1% of enquiries in the same period.

Professor Simon Thomas, director of the NPIS in Newcastle, is worried by the substantial rise in enquiries about cocaine.

‘The increases in the proportion of our workload relating to some drugs of misuse, especially cocaine, are of concern and needs addressing by the wider health community,’ he said.

There has also been an increase in activity for ketamine, methamphetamine and benzylpiperazine, although these drugs are much less commonly encountered.

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