Cocaine users in the U.K. have two new problems: an ultra strong batch of blow that kills and the new five-pound British note featuring Sir Winston Churchill’s image which is apparently so sharp it’s cutting people’s noses; giving rise to the phrase “Getting Winstoned.”
British police say that lethal 100% pure cocaine is now being sold on the streets. The death of two people in the seaside town of Eastbourne led police to issue a warning about taking cocaine which might be much more powerful than users realize.
The youth media/advertising company Vice, which claims to be an authority on drug culture, claims that most cocaine on the streets is rarely more than 25% pure.
However, reports from a large global survey of drugs in 2015 suggested that the purity of cocaine in the U.K. is on the rise “due to ‘dark web’ drug dealers who compete with each other to offer ever higher quality product.” The dark web generally refers to a portion of the internet which is accessed through a special browser called TOR and provides some measure of anonymity for illegal activity and illicit marketplaces.
For physical sales, there is apparently great variation in price and purity. Cocaine that’s about 40% pure is called “student” “pub dust,” or “monkey dust” and costs about $40-$50 a gram, while 70% pure cocaine is about $100 a gram, according to the organization Drugwise, which says it promotes evidence based information about drugs and alcohol.
Most cocaine is mixed, or cut, with agents such as dental anesthetic or sugar in order dilute the drug and increase profits.
If the threat of the lethal cocaine, and the disgusting stuff it’s mixed with, is not bad enough, one of the preferred delivery methods is also now problematic. Indeed, the British have just replaced their five-pound bill with a new plastic note which is a good deal stiffer.
An anonymous cocaine user from Birmingham told the Metro paper: “I thought I was the only person to have had my nose cut by the new fiver. But when I told my friend how I was in agony he said I had been “Winstoned” and it was happening to everyone.