New figures show the extent of Cornwall’s drug problem, with an estimated 2,000 people in the county using crack cocaine and heroin.

The report, from Public Health England, looked into six specific areas of the country,

and shows that nationally, the use of crack rose sharply between 2011-12 and 2014-15, but has currently levelled off, and overall use of crack and heroin has increased by 4.4% since 2014-15.

Key findings from the ‘Increase in crack cocaine use inquiry’ include:

  • the majority of people using crack were observed to be existing heroin users, often with co-occurring mental health problems and at risk of being homeless
  • the rise in crack use is likely to be caused by increased availability (linked to a surge in global production of cocaine), affordability and aggressive ‘marketing’ by dealers
  • changes in attitudes and stigma associated with crack use, and a reduced focus by police on drug dealing
  • clear evidence of ‘county lines’ operations – but this varied across different areas


For more information, see the Public Health England article on the research, and for the inquiry’s summary findings, see the website.  The estimates for users in Cornwall come from the PHE estimates, here.