But nearly a fifth of those who dabble with the drug are using it roughly once a week, risking serious health effects.

The report, published by the National Advisory Committee on Drugs (NACD), also highlighted differences between men and women. Men are almost three times more likely to have tried cocaine than women, while regular cocaine use is an exclusively male preserve.

Male users said they last got cocaine in a friend's house or in a club, while female users either got it in a friend's house or ordered it by phone.

The survey, originally conducted in 2002/2003, found that 3% of 15- to 64-year-olds had taken cocaine at least once.