COCAINE is taking over from alcohol as the addiction most people in Spain seek help in quitting.

According to the Observatorio Proyecto Hombre report, the number of cocaine addicts entering rehab (34.3%) now exceeds the number of alcoholics soliciting treatment (31%) for the first time in the organisation’s history.

Only five years ago, alcoholics represented 41% of rehab patients.

Multiple reasons explain the rise of cocaine addiction, including the increase in production of the white powder throughout Europe, the end of the financial crisis and the normalisation of its consumption in daily life.

The study also smashes the long-held theory that cocaine is a high class drug. “Cocaine is consumed by all social classes. People who go into rehab could be a member of your own family or the next-door neighbour”, said Felix Rueda of Proyecto Hombre.

According to the latest profile studies, most cocaine users are men in their mid-30s with stable family backgrounds, a basic education and a job. They work in fields like the food and beverage industry, surveillance, special care and jobs which demand long hours and a high level of concentration.

Contrary to other drugs like alcohol or heroin, cocaine addiction is not accompanied by instability in personal life, which reinforces the idea of its use as a party drug, rather than a way out. This could explain why almost half of addicts are under the age of 30.

The ‘normal’ appearance of users makes it more difficult to detect their addiction and help them.

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