The number of charges for cocaine possession and trafficking in Vancouver have plummeted by almost half what they were five years ago.
Statistics supplied to the Courier from the Vancouver Police Department show 1,018 fewer charges for cocaine from 2008 to 2012.
The dramatic drop went from 2,082 charges in 2008 to 1,064 in 2012. The most significant decrease in that five-year span occurred in 2011, with 970 charges recorded.
The decrease comes as drug researchers are noticing what Dr. Thomas Kerr of the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS described as an “explosion” in crack cocaine smoking.
“We’ve seen a massive increase in crack cocaine smoking — like huge,” said Kerr, who has co-authored studies on crack cocaine use. “In Vancouver, the major unaddressed issue is crack cocaine smoking.”
The majority of cocaine charges over the five-year span were for possession, including last year, where 664 were for possession and 400 for trafficking.