Crack cocaine use in a rural county of England

Roberto Vivancos, Vivienne L. Maskrey, Daphne Rumball, Ian Harvey, Richard Holland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)


Crack/cocaine use is an increasing problem in the UK. This study is the first to ascertain the magnitude of the crack/cocaine problem in a rural county of the UK and to determine users’ needs for treatment services. A questionnaire on drug dependence and risk behaviour was completed by 306 users of drug treatment services, and focus groups were conducted with 45 self-selected crack/cocaine users. It is estimated that 31% (95% C.I., 26% to 37%) of drug users in treatment services have moderate/severe dependence on crack/cocaine. Factors associated with severe crack/cocaine dependence are severe dependence on benzodiazepines, increasing number of drugs used, engaging in sex work and non-white ethnicity. Those with severe dependence have a higher prevalence of hepatitis B and C compared with those with moderate or no dependence. All focus group participants describe a frenzied drug life so when entering treatment they require additional support to give structure to their lives to prevent relapse. Current service provision appears not to provide help to crack/cocaine users. Given the lack of pharmacological treatment, programmes should incorporate a wide range of activities and interventions to provide structure to clients’ lives. Learning from ex-users was perceived as an important component of treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-103
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Public Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Cite this