Half of the bingo halls tested in an investigation by tabloid newspaper, The Sun, have tested positive for traces of cocaine. The investigators used swabs to test toilet cubicles in 17 bingo halls around the UK. While only a small number of bingo halls were tested, seven showed traces of cocaine and another had traces of the more dangerous, crack cocaine.
Evidence of drug use
Gala Bingo was one of the bingo halls with the highest number of premises with evidence of drug use, as the venues at Clydebank Retail Park, Hawthorne Quadrant, Glasgow, Basildon, and Fishponds Road, Bristol all tested positive. The Gala Bingo in Hengrove Leisure Park, Bristol, was the one venue to test positive for crack cocaine. Other venues to be caught in The Sun’s investigation include Mecca Bingo in Coral Island, Blackpool and Romford, Essex. Despite more than half of the halls testing positive, both Mecca Bingo and Gala Bingo said that they have a zero-tolerance policy on drug use.
Are more pensioners using drugs?
As the majority of people using the bingo halls are elderly, the findings back up claims from Public Health England that more pensioners are turning to recreational drugs in retirement. Their figures show that 20% more over 65s were treated for substance abuse last year, and 100% more than in 2009. Kate Lawrence from the drug charity, Phoenix Futures, said: “We assume older people don’t want to go out and socialise, but they do, particularly if they are lonely. Loneliness is a massive trigger for drugs.” “The older generation isn’t so well informed because we have concentrated on warning young people about drugs,” she added.