Crack cocaine use among drug addicts is rising rapidly in Vancouver with more than 80 per cent claiming to be able to score the drug within 10 minutes, a decade-long study on drug use in the city revealed yesterday.

The report, Drug Situation in Vancouver, found the prevalence of daily crack cocaine smoking jumped to 41.7 per cent in 2007 among survey participants, up from a mere 3.5 per cent eleven years earlier.

“In the city, the No. 1 problematic drug of abuse is crack,” said Evan Wood, a co-author of the study.

“It’s not just Vancouver where crack use has exploded. It’s a national phenomenon, crack is in Canada and it’s a huge, huge problem.”

The report found crack was easy to get, easier than crystal meth, heroin and powder cocaine.

About 85 per cent of addicts claimed they could get crack within 10 minutes, compared to heroin or powder cocaine, which 70 per cent of addicts claimed they could get within 10 minutes.

The rise of crack use, said Wood, a researcher with The B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, has led to an increased risk of HIV transmission through shared pipes and injuries like burned lips.

Last month, the Centre recommended looking at inhalation rooms, where addicts can smoke crack under the supervision.

The report also noted a marked increase in the smoking and injecting of crystal meth, particularly among street youth.

In 2007, 18 per cent of street youth reported using crystal meth daily, compared to 13 per cent who smoked crack daily. Street kids were also able to score crystal meth easier than older addicts.