Crack In Da Club: Why Are Clubbers Now Taking Crack?
Crack, a drug that is usually associated with the homeless, poor communities and serious addiction is now been taken by ravers and clubbers.
Crack is a free base form of cocaine that was originally introduced in the mid 1980s to increase profit margins for the Colombian drug cartels and street dealers. Introduced into some of the poorest communities in the US, the crack epidemic quickly spread with thousands of users doing literally anything to get their next hit. Crack quickly spread to other parts of the world with users in search of another euphoric high and dealers looking to monetise on its highly addictive qualities.
The use of recreational drugs in the UK has been happening on a widespread scale from weed in and LSD in the 60s, to cocaine use throughout the 80s, to ecstasy throughout 90s rave culture and synthetic substances like MCAT (Mephedrone) in the noughties. However, there has been a shift in trends over the years as people try to find more exciting highs for less money, and the use of one of the most popular, crack cocaine, is on the rise. According to some sources on the streets its now cool to do crack.
Above: Manchester’s The Hacienda was a place where clubbers took Ecstasy & MDMA for the first time in the early to mid 90s.
A recent study carried out by the government and Public Health England found that there was a near 10% rise in the users of crack during a 6 year period, with more information about who is actually using crack and why the rise has become so troubling. The stigma surrounding the use of crack due to its addictiveness and what it can turn people into was on par with that of heroin, however the study now says that this is not the case with students, clubbers and even working people in professional occupations are turning to crack.
With many criminals profiting off the sale of drugs and running things like a business, the stakes for them are high, so they have to come up with ways to keep customers coming back…like any business. The government study has blamed the rise of crack use in part because of what they call “aggressive marketing” which includes dealers sending out promotional text messages to repeat customers and even offering free samples to get people hooked. Another reason that people are turning to crack is that criminal gangs are now labelling it as smokable cocaine which sounds nowhere near as bad as doing heroin for example, so there is less of a stigma attached to the drug.
Above: Mobile phones, social media and apps have revolutionised how drug dealers communicate with their customers.
Another issue with the rise in the use of crack is that the Police simply do not have the resources to target drug dealing as well as the other crime that they tackle in the UK due to austerity and ongoing Tory cuts. This makes it easier for dealers to flood the market as they think it will be easier to do so without getting caught. One of the most worrying aspects of the rise of crack is just how available it is to young people, some not even 18 yet. As the market is flooded with crack, the price reflects that it’s a single rock being sold for just £5. Kids these days have access to a lot more money than that and it’s easy to see why this would be so attractive to them.
With the rise of synthetic drugs such as meth and prescription painkillers in recent years, crack may also now be considered a cleaner high when compared to the new wave of legal and illegal recreational drugs out there. The irony is crack is really just the same as cocaine, yes it’s free base and not powder form, but it’s the same chemicals going into your bloodstream. Put cocaine with a rolled up £20 note, a tailored made suit and a private invitation party and it’s glamorous and cool. Put cocaine (crack) with a homeless person that hasn’t washed for 4 days and gives blowjobs for £5 and it’s a completely different story. With UK clubbers now taking the drug it doesn’t make crack cool, although they might think it is, it just makes it what it always was, a highly addictive substance that ruins communities, lives and all the other baggage that comes with it.
Above: On the rocks. Crack cocaine use can lead to severe addiction, homelessness and even death.
The addictive nature of crack is definitely a worrying thing and if the police are not or cannot do enough to combat this going forward, then the use will increase as will the demand and the vicious circle starts all over again. At the end of the day clubbers will take anything that gets them high, if eating 10 bags of crisps in one go got them high they would do it, which is no different really than smoking crack. The question really is where do they draw the line between recreational use and addiction as crack isn’t something you really want to be messing about with. Let’s just hope we don’t see a huge surge in addiction in the UK and other parts of the world as a result!