AN Oxfordshire drug dealer has said that demand for Class As in the county has soared to 'unbelievable' levels.

The cocaine seller has said students in Oxford are 'ready to sniff anything', but he is also increasingly selling to people from every walk of life, from waiters to businesspeople.

However he also warned that with demand booming and Thames Valley Police doing a 'great job' cracking down on networks, drugs are increasingly being bulked out with dangerous additives including building plaster, cement powder and even finely-crushed lightbulb glass.

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The part-time dealer, an English literature graduate in his early 30s who also has a day job at an office, described himself as a 'small-scale seller' with some 50 regular customers.

Speaking anonymously he said: "The demand is unbelievable – it’s madness.

"Students, once they get to Oxford, they’re basically ready to sniff anything, they act like there is no party without the powder. The younger, the worse.

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"But everyone’s on it: businesspeople, the creative industry, waiters and bartenders.

"More and more people consider drugs to be just an alternative to alcohol."

The claim is supported by science: in April scientists from King’s College London and the University of Suffolk found that 100 per cent of samples from freshwater shrimp in British waterways contained cocaine.

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The dealer admitted that police do a ‘great job’ to dismantle supply chains, and also warned that their success was resulting in plummeting quality of drugs.

According to Thames Valley Police, the number of drug-related crimes is on on the rise – from 500 offences between May 2016 and April 2017 to 557 in 2018/19.

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Of those, drug trafficking offences rose by about 50 per cent from 100 in 2016/17 to 149 in 2018/19.

The dealer went on: "As it is virtually impossible to satisfy the demand, drugs are dissolved with different things so what you end up stuffing into your nose might be really dangerous."

He explained how he once bought a cocaine purity test kit from the internet, tested his own product and the result was ‘very low cocaine content’.

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He went on: "I wasn't surprised at all – I have no idea what’s in those bags.

"Fillers are building plaster, cement, flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt, baking powder – honestly, God only knows what.

"Crushed lightbulbs are also frequently used – glass shards effectively increase the potency, as they cut the inside of your nose so drugs enter the bloodstream easier.”

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Despite all of this, he said on an average weekend night he takes about £2,000, making some £500 profit.

On July 31 Public Health England issued a warning, and police in Essex launched an investigation into six deaths related to bad batch of drugs, allegedly heroin contaminated with fentanyl – a painkiller 50 times more potent than pure heroin.

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The dealer went on: "The quality of drugs in falling so quickly that it doesn’t really make sense to buy them, but people spend all week working, so they want to party at the weekend – whatever the cost."

Andy Symons has more than 20 years' experience working with drug users and is now a senior operation manager at Turning Point which helps drug users recover from addiction and homelessness.

He underlines one fact: "The price of cocaine has remained stable over last 20 years, so in real terms prices are falling rapidly."

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Andy Symons with some of Turning Point's Oxford clients.

His organisation specialises in helping heroin addicts, and he revealed that so-called 'heroin' sold in Oxfordshire generally contains about 10 to 20 per cent of actual heroin.

And he warned: "From time to time a 40 per cent heroin is sold on the streets – that is when people are overdosing, as they obviously have no idea how potent the drug is."

Mr Symons agreed that cocaine and ecstasy were highly popular among the 40,000-strong student community in Oxford, and he said the problem is growing.

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"In Oxfordshire we also have the problem of an ageing drug user population, so their health problems might not be directly resulting from substance abuse."

Professionals’ advice is always not to take drugs at all, but if one has decided to do it, to be as careful as possible: buy drugs from one source, test them before using any greater amount and never to do it alone.

The Oxford University Student Union also has a warning on its website about using cocaine: "Bingeing on cocaine can result in hear attacks, strokes, organ failure, and seizures through overheating.

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"Sometimes, a long binge can cause psychosis, especially if more is taken instead of sleeping."

Thames Valley Police warns that drug dealers increasingly operate in organised 'county lines' gangs, running drugs from cities to the countryside, who exploit vulnerable people, including children and those with mental health or addiction issues, by recruiting them to distribute drugs.

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In its ongoing county lines crackdown, the force has raided 18 properties, arrested 79 people and seized £87,000 in cash as well as huge quantities of drugs.

Detective Chief Superintendent Richard List said earlier this year that his force would stop at nothing to fight the 'unacceptable and harmful' trade.

He added: "We would encourage the public to help us in the fight against serious and organised criminals by reporting any drug dealing of which they are aware.

"This will help us to build up intelligence and investigate those who see fit to deal drugs.

"Additionally we are asking communities to be aware of their neighbours, friends and young people they know for the signs them being exploited by drug dealers.

"If you think someone shows sign of mistreatment, or a child seems to be travelling long distances or is unfamiliar with the area they are in, then you can report your suspicions to Thames Valley Police on 101 or via our website."

Drug users can find help at wellbeing.turning-point.co.uk/oxfordshire or by calling 01865 261 690.