`Easier than ordering a pizza'

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SOPHIE SPENT pounds 250 a day to feed her addiction to crack cocaine. "I didn't look like a drug addict. I was losing weight, but I still took care of my looks and how I dressed.

"The drugs were so easy to get. I would buy pounds 50 worth and someone used to come around to my house to deliver them.

"I once smoked pounds 1,000 of crack in a day. After I had finished, the buzz just disappeared - it only lasts about 5-10 minutes, although it's a very powerful hit."

Sophie has been drug-free for five months since getting help from the 493 Crack Awareness Programme, run by the drugs agency Addaction in Hackney, east London.

Fashionably dressed, attractive and articulate, with a lively three- year-old son, Sophie does not look like a stereotypical former junkie.

She started on drugs while living in the United States, but had been off "crack" for seven years when she arrived in Britain. "Things became difficult for me and I just relapsed." A year ago she was arrested for cheque fraud. She was referred to 493 Project and since then her life has changed. "It was such a relief to tell my partner, and I've got a nice home and a little job now," she said.

But could she still get crack if she wanted it? "I could have it delivered here in four or five minutes - it's easier than ordering a pizza."