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Between the Lines
Chapter 4    The main characteristics (part 2)
4.4    Method, frequency and amount
As is already know, sniffing is the commonest way to take cocaine. It also proved to be the commonest way for the Rotterdam users at every cocaine taking stage. During the period of heaviest use, however, various methods are often used. For the majority of respondents though sniffing remained the main method to take cocaine (see figures 4.5 and 4.6).
Figure 4.5
Method of use in the different periods
Method of use in the different periods
 
Figure 4.6
Most important method of use in the different periods
Most important method of use in the different periods
 
Even though sniffing is the main way to take cocaine figure 4.6 reveals that the significance of basing and injecting rises in the periods when drug intake is heaviest. The majority of the respondents however, 70%, have taken cocaine in the same way throughout their whole drug career. There is a definite connection between the way in which cocaine is used and the sort of drugs that are taken (see table 4.2). Opiate users are more inclined to take cocaine in different ways than non-opiate users (54% against 28% in the period of heaviest use). Furthermore opiate users more often turn to injecting, chasing the dragon or basing than the non-opiate using group. For the non-opiate users sniffing is the foremost method. One tenth of them predominantly based. None of the non-opiate users questioned were found injecting the drug.
   
Table 4.2
Most important method of use in the different periods, for opiate users (O) and non-opiate users (NO) (in %).
First period Last period Heaviest period
NO O NO O NO O

sniffing 98 48 89 22 86 17
basing 1 6 10 17 10 17
smoking 1 11 1 3 1 -
injecting - 27 - 33 - 49
chasing the dragon - 6 - 25 3 17

total 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
n=74 n=35 n=74 n=36 n=74 n=35
 
Concerning the cocaine taking frequency, a differentiation is made between daily use (four times or more per week), weekly use (once or twice per week), monthly use (once or twice a month) and use less than once a month.
Figure 4.7
Frequency of use in the different periods
Frequency of use in the different periods
 
In the previous chapter it was established that during the period of heaviest use half (54%) of the respondents reported taking cocaine on a daily basis. In the period of first use a quarter (23%) took cocaine every day, in the latest period this rose to 37%. Compared with the other two periods, monthly and less than monthly use decreased sharply in the period of heaviest use, going down to 28% against 47% in the initial phase and 41% in the period of last use (see figure 4.7).
The drug taking frequency depends very much on the kind of drugs that the respondents take (see table 4.3). Non-opiate users tend to take cocaine on a weekly, monthly or less than monthly basis. The frequency varies greatly according to the different periods of use; during their heaviest drug taking period at least a third (38%) take cocaine daily. More than half of the opiate users took cocaine every day throughout the different periods. In their heaviest period 86% took daily doses.
Table 4.3
Frequency of use in the different periods, for opiate users (O) and non-opiate users (NO) (in %)
First period Lats period Heaviest period
NO O NO O NO O

daily 8 56 19 75 38 86
weekly 30 29 28 8 38 8
monthly 35 12 35 11 17 3
<monthly 27 3 18 6 7 3

total 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
n=74 n=34 n=74 n=36 n=74 n=36
 
From what has been said it has become clear that the method of use depends very much on the kind of drugs the respondents use. It is therefore not surprising to see that there is a correlation between the method of use and the frequency of use. Generally speaking sniffers consume cocaine less often than those who do not sniff. There is also greater frequency variation between sniffers. The respondents who stated that basing, injecting or chasing the dragon was their main method virtually all took cocaine daily (97%) during the period of heaviest use. In this stage 40% of the sniffers took cocaine weekly, 31% daily and 29% on a monthly or less than monthly basis. As regards frequency there is little difference between the opiate and the non-opiate users who take the drug in the same way. Opiate and non-opiate users who base tend to do this (mainly) every day in their heaviest period of use. Amongst sniffers there is some discrepancy. The opiate users who sniff tend to do it daily; the non-opiate users who sniff more often on a weekly basis(5).
The amount of cocaine taken by the respondents also varies a great deal. In the previous chapter it was stated that daily consumption can range from less than half a gram to more than five grams. The respondents who use it less than once a month tend to take less than one gram in one month. The differences in intake between all the respondents becomes much clearer when consumption level is translated into a monthly consumption level(6). Figure 4.8 shows the amounts in all three periods. During each phase the amount taken can vary from less than one gram to over a hundred grams per month. During the first and last period of use at least half of the respondents used less than 2.5 grams in one month (64% and 49% respectively). In the period of heaviest usage this only applied in a quarter of all the users.
Figure 4.8
Amount of cocaine taken in one month in the different periods
Amount of cocaine taken in one month in the different periods
 
It is becoming more and more evident that compulsive cocaine use is not only apparent amongst opiate users but also with non-opiate users.
Table 4.4
Amount of cocaine taken in one month in the different periods, for opiate users (O) and non-opiate users (NO) (in %)
First period Last period Heaviest period
NO O NO O NO O

<10 g 93 62 92 36 65 22
10-50 g 5 28 5 24 18 18
50-100 g 2 5 3 20 8 11
>100 g - 5 - 20 5 48

total 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
n=51 n=18 n=58 n=25 n=59 n=27
 
Table 4.4 revealed that, during all periods of use, cocaine users who also took opiates consumed larger quantities of cocaine than those who were only on cocaine. However, even a third (31%) of the non-opiate users used more than ten grams of cocaine a month during their period of heaviest use and over a tenth (13%) used more than 50 grams a month. More than half of the opiate users (59%) took over 50 grams a month in a comparable phase.
Just as with the frequency of taking cocaine there is a strong connection between the mode of consumption and the amount of cocaine taken in one month. In figure 4.9 this relationship is shown for the period of heaviest use. A similar correlative conclusion has been drawn for the other two phases as well. The respondents who based or injected cocaine were the ones who used the greatest quantities of cocaine: those who were used to chasing the dragon consumed rather less. Even though the sniffers are inclined to take less cocaine there is still that one tenth (9%) that used more than 50 grams per month in the period of heaviest use. The percentage of those who base, shoot or chase the dragon and that use more than 50 grams a month in this phase is considerably higher, amounting to 80%, 73% and 34% respectively. Despite the fact that the frequency for opiate and non-opiate users taking the drug in a similar way is roughly the same there is a difference in the amounts of cocaine consumed in a month. It would appear that during their periods of heaviest use the opiate users who sniff or base use more cocaine (measured in monthly amounts) than non-opiate users who sniff or base(7).
Figure 4.9
Most important method of use and amount of use in one month, in the period of heaviest use
Most important method of use and amount of use in one month, in the period of heaviest use
 
To summarize, it may be said that for the vast majority of respondents sniffing is the main way of taking cocaine. This is especially true for non-opiate users. For 10% of all non-opiate users basing can be said to be the most important way of use. Opiate users base, inject and chase the dragon more often. Where frequency of use and the amounts taken are concerned there is, in all respects, evidence of great diversity. By and large opiate users are inclined to take cocaine more frequently and consume greater quantities of it than non-opiate users. The habitual differences between non-opiate users are however greater. The same goes for the drug taking methods. Respondents who base, inject and chase the dragon use greater quantities of cocaine and take it more frequently than those who sniff the drug. Amongst sniffers the differences in frequency and quantity are greater. Opiate and non-opiate users who take cocaine in the same way vary little in their intake frequency but the opiate users tend to take larger amounts.
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Table of Contents
Preface
Chapter 1    Introduction
Chapter 2    Methodology
Chapter 3    General impressions
Chapter 4    The main characteristics
Chapter 5    Typology
Chapter 6    Spread, dispersion and extent
Chapter 7    Conclusions and discussion
Summary
Literature
Appendix A    Glossary
Appendix B    Occupation classification
Appendix C    Patterns of use
 
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