Middle class drug users causing poorer to 'suffer' by fuelling trade cocaine
Affluent recreational drug users have been accused of causing deprived communities to suffer by fuelling demand in a lucrative criminal trade.
Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner said “well-to-do middle class professionals” were ignorant of the cascading effect of using drugs socially.
In the last 18 months, the constabulary managed to more than halve drug supply channels known as ‘county lines’.
But dealers are still raking in thousands of pounds a week, said Tim Passmore, who slammed affluent recreational users for failing to comprehend their cash was funding organised crime.
“Of serious concern are the well-to-do middle class professionals who think snorting cocaine at weekends is acceptable, without understanding the damage their stupidity does to society,” said Mr Passmore, updating the Police and Crime Panel on the programme to tackle youth gangs and drug violence.
“They need to hang their heads in shame,” he added.
“We must make them realise what they’re doing to their fellow human beings. If there wasn’t that demand, we wouldn’t have the supply.
“It tends to be the less well-off areas that get the fag end of this and suffer more.”
The Crime Survey for England and Wales found ‘cosmopolitans’ twice as likely to have used cocaine than the ‘hard-pressed’ in 2017/18 – and three times as likely to have taken any class A drug.
In the East of England, the percentage of adult cocaine users went from 1.5% to 2.2% since the definition of county lines was identified in 2014/15.
Mr Passmore said: “Evidence suggests three to four thousand pounds a week is made by drug dealers in Ipswich. That’s the kind of problem we’re up against.
“We have to do more, when the ringleaders are released from jail, to ensure they don’t return to their evil ways.
“We have to link with training, education and jobs for those most at risk, including girls as young as 12 and 13 being sexually exploited.
“There has to be far more willingness to share data with organisations like the NHS, albeit confidentially, not least regarding young offenders, who are often victims, afraid to come forward.
“Some academies are very engaging. Others, in rural areas, tend to say ‘we don’t have that problem here’, but I vehemently disagree. Everyone is affected.”