Speedballing epidemic

A SPIRALLING epidemic of drug addicts “speedballing” heroin and crack cocaine in the same needle has reached Ipswich, drug workers revealed today.The town is among eight found to be battling against a problem where growing numbers of addicts are using the potentially deadly cocktail for its stimulant-sedative effect, the DrugScope charity said.

A SPIRALLING epidemic of drug addicts “speedballing” heroin and crack cocaine in the same needle has reached Ipswich, drug workers revealed today.

The town is among eight found to be battling against a problem where growing numbers of addicts are using the potentially deadly cocktail for its stimulant-sedative effect, the DrugScope charity said.

The worrying findings emerged from the charity's annual survey of drug habits in 20 towns across the UK.

The survey of 80 drug agencies and police forces showed a rise in speedballing in Ipswich, Newcastle, Sheffield, Manchester, London, Bristol, Nottingham and York.

Harry Shapiro, editor of the charity's Druglink magazine, said: “Although speedballing isn't a new phenomenon, it is clearly on the increase and, if this trend continues, it will be bad news for attempts to reduce the spread of injecting-related diseases and the number of drug overdoses.”

The findings raised the prospect of even more burglaries, robberies and other thefts being committed by addicts to fund their costly habits, DrugScope added.

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More dealers are selling heroin in £10 bags rather than by the gram, and some parts of the country continue to report dealers offering “discount offers” on combined bags of heroin and crack cocaine, fuelling the speedballing craze.

In Ipswich buying a bag of “brown” and “white” together is said to yield a £10 discount on a £30 purchase.

The price of heroin in Ipswich has dropped by half since 2005 and is now £50 a gram. DrugScope found that methadone and subutex, which are heroin substitutes, are available cheaply.

Today's speedballing revelations come on the back of a report from Suffolk Police Authority, revealed in yesterday's Evening Star which showed up to 35pc of all crime is related to drugs and each year more than 8,000 people in Suffolk are victims of drug-related crime.

See page 11 for Hollesley Bay prison action on drugs

Weblink: www.drugscope.org.uk

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