Africa, the New Carribbian - For Cocaine, That Is.
February 12, 2010 2:28 PM   Subscribe

So what is an enterprising cocaine cartel to do when tight airport and border security threaten to cause one to miss out on a massive boom in european cocaine use? Well, for starters one sets up shop on Africa's west coast where the police often aren't paid for months and the 4 cars of some country's police force can mostly sit idle due to a lack of gas money. Oh, and in Guinea Bissau - no coast guard! In addition to bringing even more corruption and violence to Africa, the status of being the transhipment point of about 3/4 of all cocaine heading to Europe brings a Miami-style economic stimulus. And as colombian cartels are generally more concerned with getting cocaine out of Colombia at a profit than getting it all the way to its destination, we're probably only a few years away from a senegalese Scarface.
posted by jake1 (26 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
For the short time you've been here I've enjoyed every one of your FPPs.
Thanks for another one!
posted by deacon_blues at 2:37 PM on February 12, 2010


Why has cocaine become the 'it' drug again? Did the neuvo-disco revival get people back into it, or did cocaine inspire people to make the shitty music of 30 years ago again?
posted by Jon_Evil at 2:38 PM on February 12, 2010


Why has cocaine become the 'it' drug again?

People have continued to smoke, snort, freebase, and inject it continuously since the 1970s. I don't think there has been any change in usage patterns other than a trend of greater availability. What you may be talking about is media coverage.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:45 PM on February 12, 2010


I don't think there has been any change in usage patterns other than a trend of greater availability.

...except for the second link in the FPP which does give many indicators which show that cocaine use has risen sharply since 2005.
posted by hippybear at 2:48 PM on February 12, 2010


we're probably only a few years away from a senegalese Scarface.

How do you say "fock" and "focking" in Wolof?
posted by jason's_planet at 2:51 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Look! A shining example of libertarian free market philosophy in action! Watch as the market optimizes to meet the needs of society!

(warning: "Society" only applies to people with guns, or stable governments with guns, not the people living in the free market zone.)
posted by yeloson at 2:54 PM on February 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


"Why has cocaine become the 'it' drug again?"

I think the fact that the stigma of crack has faded into the past has something to do with it, though a rise in availability resulting in lower prices is another factor.
posted by Toby Dammit X at 2:56 PM on February 12, 2010


Why has cocaine become the 'it' drug again?
indicators which show that cocaine use has risen sharply since 2005


Because it wasn't until 2004 that we found out it's a hell of a drug?
posted by sallybrown at 3:24 PM on February 12, 2010


Somewhere, Lin Zexu is laughing.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:29 PM on February 12, 2010


I don't understand why capitalists would ever think they could defeat the black market.
posted by mullingitover at 3:34 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


"13.5! What are you nuts? We still gotta take the shit to Florida. You know what that's like these days? They got the Navy all over the fuckin' place. They got frogmen, they got EC 2s with satellite tracking shit in 'em, they got fuckin' Bell 209 assault choppers up the ass, we're losing one out of every nine loads. It's no duckwalk for us anymore, y'know. Forget it."
posted by bwg at 3:39 PM on February 12, 2010


People have continued to smoke, snort, freebase, and inject it continuously since the 1970s. I don't think there has been any change in usage patterns other than a trend of greater availability. What you may be talking about is media coverage.

Or that I encounter progressively sketchier people as I grow older. It's to the point where "is this kid gonna steal my stuff for drug money?" is a question I ask myself consciously upon deciding whether to be friends with somebody. (though i guess the first time i got my shit stolen it was meth, but every time after that, it's been cokeheads).
posted by Jon_Evil at 3:55 PM on February 12, 2010


Perhaps they are allergic to french fries.
posted by poe at 4:00 PM on February 12, 2010


Drugs go through predictable cycles of being the "it drug" being the "evil drug" and "generational forgetting." Basically, the people who got fucked up on it 20 years ago typically aren't interacting with the young people doing so today (or are their parents, so they are ignored)-- except for the ones who are still addicted and dealing, which are a tiny minority and are probably supplying them so they aren't exactly telling them how bad it is. Plus, the younger folks think they're immune, even if they see that the ones still at it don't look too hot.

In between, we have other "most evil/addictive/pleasurable" superdrugs, so that people can say, "Well, I know CRACK is evil horrible bad but METHAMPHETAMINE, that's fine," or the reverse, of course.

This tends to go in cycles of stimulant/depressant: so you get heroin in the 1970's, coke in the 80's, prescription opioids plus heroin in the 90's, methamphetamine in the 00's though there is obviously some cross-over and a great deal of regional variance. Europe seems to be experiencing the cocaine boom that America had in the 1980's.

Anyway, this will continue to happen until we actually tell the truth about drugs and addiction and work to prevent the *real* causes of the problems, which lie in individuals and cultures, not in substances.
posted by Maias at 4:12 PM on February 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


*smokes crack ironically*
posted by hermitosis at 4:30 PM on February 12, 2010 [7 favorites]


This tends to go in cycles of stimulant/depressant:

Do other drugs (say, hallucinogens) tend to have their own independent cycles? Or are they not cyclical?

until we actually tell the truth about drugs and addiction and work to prevent the *real* causes of the problems, which lie in individuals and cultures, not in substances.

Are there people writing about solving the problem from this angle? What do they say?
posted by weston at 4:58 PM on February 12, 2010


Look! A shining example of libertarian free market philosophy in action! Watch as the market optimizes to meet the needs of society!
There's no free market in cocaine.
posted by planet at 5:04 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Then a war will start and they'll all want to live in Mirrabooka.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:07 PM on February 12, 2010


planet: "There's no free market in cocaine."

Cocaine is completely legal, with one caveat: don't get caught.
posted by mullingitover at 5:09 PM on February 12, 2010


great post. depressing, bleak post, but great post. I hadn't been at all aware that this was going on in west africa.
posted by supermedusa at 5:45 PM on February 12, 2010


Cocaine is the yacht rock of drugs.
posted by acb at 6:25 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is there any movement in Europe to decriminalize all drugs?
posted by maxwelton at 7:51 PM on February 12, 2010


Do other drugs (say, hallucinogens) tend to have their own independent cycles? Or are they not cyclical?

I think the synthetics go in cycles: LSD was big in the early 90s, then dropped off as E got popular, then E dropped off as Meth picked up steam.

I wonder when some fabulous new synthetic drug is going to get invented.
posted by empath at 9:45 PM on February 12, 2010


Or that I encounter progressively sketchier people as I grow older. It's to the point where "is this kid gonna steal my stuff for drug money?" is a question I ask myself consciously upon deciding whether to be friends with somebody. (though i guess the first time i got my shit stolen it was meth, but every time after that, it's been cokeheads).

Once you hit a certain age (i dunno, 25 or 26 or so), hanging around with people that use drugs becomes much, much, much less fun, largely because your friends that are the most fun to party with either drop out and get jobs/families/whatever or they become addicts and/or sketchy criminals.
posted by empath at 9:50 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


...an enterprising cocaine cartel...

[Groucho]

Now there's a phrase you don't hear a lot.

[/Groucho]
posted by Splunge at 9:57 PM on February 12, 2010


Do other drugs (say, hallucinogens) tend to have their own independent cycles?

Not since Jerry Garcia died and the Grateful Dead stopped touring.
posted by mikelieman at 8:35 AM on February 13, 2010


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