“IT’S as easy as buying a drink from an off-licence.” That is how Ellen Romans, a recovering drug addict, describes picking up cocaine near where she lives in London. And today top-notch blow is much cheaper than it was five years ago, when she started using it heavily. David McManus, her treatment worker at Blenheim, a rehabilitation charity, agrees. Pubs and bars are “flooded” with the stuff. Dealers know that their product is no longer scarce. They are more tolerant of hagglers and are resorting to gimmicks, including Black Friday discounts, to boost sales.
The observations of Ms Romans and Mr McManus (not their real names) fit a countrywide pattern. There are signs that changes are afoot in the cocaine market. Though overall use has not increased, supply seems to have soared and dealers are offering a purer product.
One indication of growing supply is the volume of cocaine seized each year. Between 2010 and 2016…Continue reading