Public Health England says the number of adults starting treatment for crack addiction in the last three years has gone up by 19%.
Its latest report highlights evidence that crack use, production and purity is on the rise with people being able to buy crack for ‘pocket money prices’ of £5 per rock.
Latest estimates of opiate and crack use analysed by addiction experts found the number of crack cocaine users had gone up by 8.5% in the five years up to 2017.
Public Health England’s inquiry investigated the crack problem across six local authority areas in 2018 in collaboration with service users, drug treatment workers and the police.
Respondents reported that crack is pushed onto Heroin users by dealers who are offering a 'try before you buy' scheme by way of free samples of crack.
Addiction treatment experts UKAT believe their admissions for crack cocaine addiction will overtake heroin and alcohol combined in the near future because of the price tag and ease of access.
In response, Cllr Ian Hudpseth, chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: 'We have long argued that reductions to councils’ public health grant which is used to fund drug and alcohol prevention and treatment services is a false economy, which will only compound acute pressures for criminal justice and NHS services further down the line.
'Leaving councils to pick up the bill for treating new and increasing numbers of users while having fewer resources cannot be an option.'
Visit UKAT for more information on the signs and symptoms of crack cocaine addiction and how someone can be treated for it.