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SPOILER: NYC wins.
August 1, 2007 3:58 PM   Subscribe

Estimated cocaine consumption based on waste-water analysis (expressed as cocaine lines* per day per 1000 Inhabitants, age 15-64) *1 line was here assumed to be equivalent to 100 milligram of cocaine. --page 272

This, and much more, in the UN 2007 World Drug Report (pdf). HTML homepage.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (49 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'll be interested to listen to those mp3s on the right side later. I saw an article in the news wherein a Colombian official admitted that cartels had infiltrated the both the government and the military and very high levels. He went on to claim, essentially, that recognizing the problem was the first step to solving it. I wonder how long he has left to live.

Also, eponysterical to the max.
posted by invitapriore at 4:07 PM on August 1, 2007


Apparently I'm the one on drugs. That second sentence should read, "[cartels] had infiltrated both the government and the military at very high levels."
posted by invitapriore at 4:08 PM on August 1, 2007


Also, a question: are hallucinogens of too little concern to be listed in the report at all?
posted by invitapriore at 4:10 PM on August 1, 2007


do you know what really bothers me? Well, lots of things... But specifically related to this is how one person's opinion strongly affects another and their actions.

For example. I dont like drugs. I think drugs are bad. Therefore, I am not going to allow other people to do drugs. I will make it illegal for people, even with a doctor's note, to take certain kinds of substances to ease pain, just because a few friends and I decide its bad.

How pompous and self-righteous humans are...
posted by subaruwrx at 4:10 PM on August 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


NYC may win overall, but check out Miranda de Ebro, Spain: 97 lines of cocaine per 1000 people per day, apparently. That's 10% of the population snorting. Which is, um, kind of weirdly high.

"There is no nightlife here. You can run through the town in 10 minutes. Everyone is joking, 'Who's the person sniffing the 97 lines each day?'."

posted by mdonley at 4:20 PM on August 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh, and since no one's going to read a 300-page PDF, can anyone find the list of most-coked out cities from the report?
posted by mdonley at 4:21 PM on August 1, 2007


Japan is in sore need of a larger drug problem.
posted by Bugbread at 4:26 PM on August 1, 2007


Here's a CBC report that has some more details from the report.
posted by mdonley at 4:28 PM on August 1, 2007


NYC wins.

So that's why it's the city that never sleeps.
posted by quin at 4:30 PM on August 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


The actual page with the chart is labled 273, but it's the 279th page of the PDF.
posted by delmoi at 4:32 PM on August 1, 2007


mdonley writes "Oh, and since no one's going to read a 300-page PDF, can anyone find the list of most-coked out cities from the report?"

Page 278 (er, that is, in PDF pages. Page 272 in document pages (because the title pages and such throw off the page count)).
posted by Bugbread at 4:37 PM on August 1, 2007


Whoops, delmoi beat me to the punch.
posted by Bugbread at 4:38 PM on August 1, 2007


delmoi and bugbread are correct, thanks.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:50 PM on August 1, 2007


I recall this from two summers ago --

Italian Rivers Reveal Level of Cocaine Use
"Scientists testing the quality of Italian river and sewage water have found cocaine levels three times higher than expected.

Experts found more than 4kg of the drug in samples of water - which would suggest 40,000 'doses' a day are being taken in an area where the number of cocaine users was thought to be closer to 15,000.

...The survey showed just how prevalent cocaine use was in the area, which is considered to be the wealthiest region in Italy with the largest proportion of working young people aged between 17 and 34.

Experts said 4kg of cocaine a day would suggest an average daily use of at least 27 doses of 100mg of cocaine for every 1,000 young adults. This equated to at least 40,000 doses being taken every day and indicated cocaine with a street value of £60 million was being consumed in the region each year."
posted by ericb at 4:55 PM on August 1, 2007


New York's Hudson River's Murky Waters Have...Pure Cocaine?
posted by ericb at 4:58 PM on August 1, 2007


If they mentioned alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine, then I might be inclined to take them seriously.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 5:02 PM on August 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Can't wait till someone hacks this as a Google Maps overlay. Set it to a Lines/Street View/Satellite Hybrid. Auto-refresh. It'll be like watching a live action version of Grand Theft Auto.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:07 PM on August 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


It would appear that there's some serious money to be made transporting heroin from The Netherlands to Iceland -- even if you buy at retail price.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:12 PM on August 1, 2007


I grabbed the chart from the PDF and stuck it on my Flickr here.
posted by mdonley at 5:14 PM on August 1, 2007


Experts found more than 4kg of the drug in samples of water - which would suggest 40,000 'doses' a day are being taken in an area where the number of cocaine users was thought to be closer to 15,000.

It would also suggest a way to make wasterwater treatment a lot less costly. I'm just saying....
posted by fshgrl at 5:19 PM on August 1, 2007


Some noteworthy points from the executive summary [PDF]:Good post.
posted by cribcage at 6:00 PM on August 1, 2007


North America: everything

That cracks me up.
posted by IronLizard at 6:20 PM on August 1, 2007


0.6% of the population falls under "problem drug user."

And for that, we destroy our society by engaging in a drug war.

How stupid are we? Terribly stupid, I'm afraid.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:55 PM on August 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


The way drugwar proponents feel about drugs? That's how I feel about pdf files. Yeah yeah I know it allows you to format the info so you can control how it's printed. I don't want you controlling how I print out shit. Most of the time I don't print out anything anyway. They load slow, they're annoying to navigate through, you can't search for keywords, and most people who use them have no right formatting anything anyway cuz they don't know what they're doing.

If you can't make it into something other than a pdf file, I'd rather not see it.

If I hear about a presidential candidate who promises to have "serious talks" with Adobe about the growing surplus of pdf files on the Web? Then maybe I'll consider him or her as a candidate. Oh, and the candidate also has to promise to end the war on drugs - cuz the only bastards the war on drugs is helping is Organized Crime. I'm talking about the 90% of drugs that aren't mentioned in this report cuz nobody got caught.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:06 PM on August 1, 2007


OK -- the numbers in the chart seem utterly screwed up, unless I'm missing something.

You can back the population numbers they are using out of the numbers in the table:

New York:
449814 / 90 * 1000 = 5M (actually ~20M)

Washington, DC:
201725 / 38 * 1000 = 5.3M (actually ~6M)

San Francisco:
166179 /21 * 1000 = 8M (Bay Area is actually ~4.5M)

(e.g.: in New York, there were 450K lines consumed. Each 90 lines means 1000 people; so there must be 450K lines / (90 lines/thousand people) or 5K * thousand people.)

Looking at the numbers another way, you see that New York has less than three times the total cocaine consumption of San Francisco, but more than four times the per capita consumption -- so they must have San Francisco as significantly larger.)


If anyone can find a good explanation, let me know. Otherwise, I'll have to assume that the whole report is full of shit, since the very first numbers I looked at were obviously wrong to my eyes.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:37 PM on August 1, 2007


0.6% of the population falls under "problem drug user."

And for that, we destroy our society by engaging in a drug war.

How stupid are we? Terribly stupid, I'm afraid.


.6% of the world's population, if the earlier post is correct.
posted by Brian B. at 7:45 PM on August 1, 2007


So are they measuring pure cocaine or some metabolite that might be shared with say Coca-Cola?

I don't like 300-page PDFs either.
posted by davy at 7:46 PM on August 1, 2007


Will all y'all fellow Americans doing "everything" please move in next door? I can't find squat in this town without connections; the only drug problem I got is a problem finding drugs.
posted by davy at 7:55 PM on August 1, 2007


If anyone can find a good explanation, let me know. Otherwise, I'll have to assume that the whole report is full of shit, since the very first numbers I looked at were obviously wrong to my eyes.

Just a guess, but much of this is probably from crack cocaine, rather than snorted lines. Also, I wonder how much coked-out urine never hits the waste water treatment, but is rather absorbed by the ground in alleys and backyards of crackhouses. This is an interesting way to try to capture data concerning drug usage, but it hardly could be considered authoritative.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:19 PM on August 1, 2007


the only drug problem I got is a problem finding drugs.

It's usually the other way around, oddly enough. The drugs find you. Count your blessings that you have to be sober.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:20 PM on August 1, 2007


It's usually the other way around, oddly enough. The drugs find you.

You have got to stop living in that crackhouse.
posted by flaterik at 8:50 PM on August 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Misty water-colored [something] [something] . . .
. . .

Can it be that it was all so simple then?
Or has time re-written every line?
If we had the chance to do it all again
Tell me, would we? Could we?

posted by rob511 at 9:11 PM on August 1, 2007


what happened, Miami??
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:13 PM on August 1, 2007


The financial industry is centered in NY. The whole thing is yayed up.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:50 PM on August 1, 2007


Also, a question: are hallucinogens of too little concern to be listed in the report at all?

Get with the program, invitapriore. Right-thinkers categorize hallucinogens not as drugs, but as food.
posted by Meatbomb at 10:04 PM on August 1, 2007


From the report:

Starting in Italy in 2005, and later in the UK and in Germany, several groups of scientists have started to experiment with the analysis of residuals in waste-water, in order to calculate backwards the amounts of cocaine consumed. The assumption is that cocaine that has been consumed is eventually leaving the human body and - in developed areas - most of this will land in waste-water systems in the form of benzoylecgonine, a breakdown product from cocaine after it had been processed by the human liver. The analysis is thus based on the identification of benzoylecgonine in waste water. This is an interesting marker as it – apparently - does not come from any other source than the organic processing of cocaine.

and here the politics starts..

In some of the studies, attempts have also been made to estimate the number of cocaine users, based on the amounts consumed. This would work fine if the average per capita consumption levels of cocaine were known. For most cities, this is not the case. With regard to these final back-calculations, from the quantities consumed to the number of users, views between UNODC and the authors of some of the studies differ. Information available to UNODC suggests that the ‘average user’ consumes far higher quantities of cocaine than it is assumed in these studies. This has important implications. The number of cocaine users, deduced from the amounts consumed, tends to be very high in some of these studies which may not reflect reality.

The credibility of existing surveys, establishment rhetoric on 'success' of the War on Drugs..etc is on the line, if the estimates from these studies are more accurate. There's other lines of evidence which suggest it is, such as this one.
posted by daksya at 10:08 PM on August 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


There are a lot of sketchy (yet highly effective) weight loss pills sold in Spain. I wonder if that kind of thing has an impact.
posted by fshgrl at 10:41 PM on August 1, 2007


The drugs find you.

No kidding, man. Let me tell you about what happened once in the "Piss Shaft".

I live in Helsinki, Finland, in a part of town called Itäkeskus (that'd be East Central in english), just across an expressway next to the "Biggest Mall in the Nordic Countries", on a street called Asiakkaankatu (that'd be Customer Street -- don't tell me how tacky that is; I already know). There really aren't any truly horrible slums in Finland, and even as far as Helsinki goes, Itäkeskus ain't all that bad. That said, here and there it's fairly ugly, and "Kusikuilu" (that'd be the Piss Shaft) ain't pretty.

Kusikuilu is the plexiglass-covered three-story concrete stairway that descends from the overpass down to Asiakkaankatu. It's a public toilet that doubles as a commutation bottleneck, and it has an interesting feature. The plexiglass shell (which has developed a nice, discreet, matte finish from the ongoing graffiti/pressure-wash/graffiti process) hangs a few inches from the stairway, leaving a gap through which you can see the ground below. This means that as you're about to enter from street level, you have to watch for shadows on the upper-story walls unless want an oblivious bum to urinate down your neck.

But it's not always piss that rains down. One blazing hot summer day I was coming home, eating a cone of delicious ice cream I had bought from the mall. It was fairly obvious that I should've taken a detour: on days like these, Kusikuilu is at its worst, and you don't want to ruin the experience of your sweet summer treat with such record-breaking stench of human waste. Alas, something must have really been on my mind, as I also didn't pay any attention to what this group of youngsters were doing hanging out in the corner of the second landing of the stairway.

A moment before I exited the Piss Shaft, I heard a yell from above: "voi kolmen kyrvän perse!" (that's oh ass of three cocks!), and I also heard something clacking its way through the gap. A couple of steps forward, and a syringe with about half an inch of bloody whatever still in it, landed straight on my shoe like a dart.

I gently pulled it out and finished my ice cream.
posted by Anything at 1:31 AM on August 2, 2007 [3 favorites]


It's usually the other way around, oddly enough. The drugs find you. Count your blessings that you have to be sober.

What an ignorant statement, unless I'm missing your point. drugs are part of society whether we like it or not. As we grow up we are 'introduced' to lots of drugs. Our parents usually start it off by getting us hooked on sugar.

Once hooked on one drug, we start to look for other stimuli. this could be coffee, maybe nicotine, perhaps Alcohol or could be crack. We'll be pushed these drugs by big Industry, friends, peers... whatever.

But drugs do not find us, we find them. Every time.
posted by twistedonion at 4:05 AM on August 2, 2007


ZachsMind writes "you can't search for keywords"

That's a problem in your software, then, not the PDF file. I searched just fine using Acrobat Reader. What software are you using to read the PDF?
posted by Bugbread at 6:16 AM on August 2, 2007


97 lines of cocaine per 1000 people per day, apparently. That's 10% of the population snorting.

One can take more than a single line of cocaine a day.
posted by Shakeer at 7:45 AM on August 2, 2007


42% of all cocaine and 26% of all heroin produced was seized by law enforcement before reaching consumers.

Wtf?

In 2000, under Plan Colombia, the U.S. took the fight directly to the coca fields, spending nearly as much each year on aerial coca eradication and fighting cocaine-dealing rebels in Colombia as Ireland spends on its entire military. Plan Colombia has cost $4.7 billion since its inception, but cocaine on U.S. streets has only gotten cheaper, while American demand has remained steady.

Since 2000, American crop dusters have cumulatively sprayed an area the size of Delaware and Rhode Island to eradicate coca bushes in Colombia. But coca cultivation on small plots and in out-of-the-way places has made up for lost production. The State Department, after discovering thousands of hectares planted outside the areas it had been tracking, said last year it cannot reliably tally coca production. “It’s all rather irrelevant,” a State Department official who wished to remain anonymous said. “There’s still a hell of a lot of coca out there.”

If they don't have an adequate metric for total production how can they claim they have intercepted 42% of it? BS, just like this reverse calculation to determine consumption rates extrapolated across entire populations.
posted by prostyle at 7:49 AM on August 2, 2007


the flaw with the study is that it assumes the cocaine is coming from the approximately 3.4 million people aged 15 to 65 living in the Hudson's watershed rather than the kajillion bridge and tunnel kids coming to the city coming to the city to party.
posted by snofoam at 8:40 AM on August 2, 2007


"It's usually the other way around, oddly enough. The drugs find you."

Fortunately I always appear to be out to lunch when that happens. Supposedly there were drugs all over back in high school and college but since I wasn't "with it" apparently I had "narc" written on my forehead and wore a metaphorical bell around my neck and faster than roaches when the lights come on, everything disappeared as I approached. I was oblivious to that being even a remote possibility until several years later. ...still not sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing. For all I know that's still how things are and I still can't see it.

"What software are you using to read the PDF?"

...

*blink*

Adobe Reader. What else is there?

It's another in the long list of things I don't like about pdfs. So far as I know the only thing that can read pdf files is adobe software. I don't like proprietary crap. Why not just make it an html file? Nowadays most anything can read that. And no. It doesn't let me search keywords, but that might be a recent update and I haven't let it upgrade in awhile cuz that's yet another thing that annoys me - every time I have to open it up it asks me if it can go talk to adobe and see if there's yet another upgrade. I tell you there's nothing about pdfs that I like.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:31 PM on August 2, 2007


PDF is not proprietary. There are many alternative readers out there. There are several alternative writers out there. PDFs are generally searchable. And they're about the only format, save plain ol' text, that can be pretty much guaranteed readable by most everyone out there.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:20 PM on August 2, 2007


It's usually the other way around, oddly enough. The drugs find you. Count your blessings that you have to be sober.

What an ignorant statement, unless I'm missing your point.


You must've missed my point because you restated it for me. What I meant was that people who've have been using drugs and been associating with others using drugs have a harder time getting away from drugs than those who never have been there.

In my college years I wasn't a stranger to this scene and at times skimmed near those who had gone much farther into the drug underworld. I'd seen it many times where people (myself included) got rid of their stash with the intention of quitting only to be visited the next day by someone they hadn't seen in awhile who had fresh gear in hand. This kind of thing had would repeat itself in many different ways, and each time a person made some effort to reduce or eliminate their drug usage there would be a weird synchronous occurrence that would serve to bring drugs into their sphere anew. I could go on with the anecdotal evidence, but the prevailing conditions of a drug user's life can create quite an inertia towards drugs staying near them, even if they intend on not using them. This is obvious, of course.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:24 PM on August 2, 2007


PDF is not proprietary.

Evince is a simple and easy viewer (Linux, mind you).
posted by Burhanistan at 8:26 PM on August 2, 2007


FoxIt works well, too.

And for producing PDFs, there's an independent company that has a far, far better product than Adobe, for less cost. Turns out they're also the guys who write the best and most-used PostScript interpreter. Now if only I could recall their name... British company, IIRC. Maybe had a "5" in their name?

I'm out; enough derail.

posted by five fresh fish at 10:13 PM on August 2, 2007


ZachsMind writes "*blink*

"Adobe Reader. What else is there?"


Wikipedia mentions: ZachsMind writes "It doesn't let me search keywords, but that might be a recent update and I haven't let it upgrade in awhile cuz that's yet another thing that annoys me"

So, it annoys you that it doesn't let you search, and it annoys you that it checks for upgrades to add functions like the ability to search?

Don't get me wrong, I'm no PDF fan by any means. And the Adobe Updater annoys me too (especially the "create random Updater folder in your neatly arranged Documents folder without asking" bit). But you can either complain "it looks for upgrades" or "it doesn't let me search", but not both, since the first obviates the second.
posted by Bugbread at 10:07 AM on August 3, 2007


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