Drug dealers have been targeting middle-class users with ‘ethically sourced’ cocaine marketed at £200 a gram.
Wealthy users are shelling out a fortune for the upmarket sniff to suit their ‘vegan, organic’ lifestyle, according to one former soap actress.
Britons have reportedly been behind a rise in demand for the ethically sourced drugs, which have been dubbed ‘woke coke’.
The product is sold with tags including ‘environmetally friendly’ and ‘ethically sourced’, with promises it is produced by well-paid farmers.
But experts have warned that there is nothing to back these claims and they are simply a ‘very clever’ marketing ploy that is encouraging users to pay through the nose for the illicit substances.
Drug policy expert Neil Woods called the move a ‘woke coke con’ and told the Daily Mirror there is no way to produce environmentally friendly or ethically sourced cocaine.
He told the publication: ‘I have been shown ads for “environmentally friendly sniff” but it’s nothing but a very clever marketing ploy.
Britons have reportedly been behind a rise in demand for the drugs, dubbed ‘woke coke’, which is sold with tags including ‘environmetally friendly’ and ‘ethically sourced’ (stock image)
But experts have warned that there is nothing to back these claims and they are simply a ‘very clever’ marketing ploy that simply boosts the ‘obscene’ profits generated by drug lords (stock image)
‘At £200 [$435] a gram, I call it the “woke coke con”,’ adding that it was another way to boost the ‘obscene’ profits being generated by drug lords with the cocaine trade in the UK.
Former soap actress Davina Taylor revealed in October that celebrities were being roped in by the ploy as it fit in well with their lifesyle choices.
She previously said: ‘In Chiswick everyone’s got woke coke – it’s from ‘sustainable sources’ in South America.
‘They’re like, “Hi, darling, I’ve got woke coke. It’s all PC, £200 a gram”. They’ve got their vegan food, their organic wine and their woke coke and a spliff going.’
The actress, who appeared on Hollyoaks in the UK, slammed the ‘hypocrisy’ of their claims.
It is estimated that at least 9% of the 3.2million people in England and Wales has taken a drug in the past year, according to a goverment report published last year.
Among young people the figure is even higher, with the figures suggesting almost a one in five young adults aged 16 to 24 have taken an illicit substance in the previous 12 months.
These users contribute to a booming market in the UK, with People in England and Wales spending an estimated £9.4billion in illicit drugs annually, according to the government’s review.
Cocaine is the most commonly used class A drug in the UK, with around 976,000 users.
Cocaine is the most commonly used class A drug in the UK, with around 976,000 users. Pictured, frequency of cocaine use according to ONS figures
In Colombia, which remains the world’s largest supplier of cocaine to most countries including the UK, rival drug cartels are notorious in their violent tactics to control the supply and distribution of the drug (pictured, stock image, workers in Colombia)
The number of powder cocaine users has increased sharply over the past five years, leading to this market alone becoming worth a staggering £2 billion.
The UK drugs and cocaine trade in numbers
- At least 9% of the 3.2million people in England and Wales has taken a drug in the past year;
- One in five young people aged 16 to 24 has taken an illicit substance in the previous 12 months;
- People in England and Wales spend an estimated £9.4billion in illicit drugs annually;
- Cocaine is the most commonly used class A drug in the UK, with around 976,000 users;
- The number of powder cocaine users has increased sharply over the past five years;
- The cocaine market alone in the UK is worth around £2 billion.
Source: Home Office review of drugs and Office for National Statistics
Efforts to boost sales of the drug have been slammed as ‘nonsense’.
Colombian aid worker Bibiana Villota told the Mirror: ‘I’ve never heard of woke coke but I can tell you, no one in Colombia produces cocaine “ethically”.
‘What you call fair trade cocaine is only going to bring more greed and bloodshed.’
Brits looking to ease their conscience over their involvement in the drugs trade are contributing to a culture of violence dominating the international powder cocaine supply chain.
In Colombia, which remains the world’s largest supplier of cocaine to most countries including the UK, rival drug cartels are notorious in their violent tactics to control the supply and distribution of the drug.
The problems extend to the UK, with dealers and county lines operations rife across the country.
In England and Wales, the number of drug related deaths reached an all-time high in 2019.
With the health harms, costs of crime and wider impacts on society together, thje government estimates the total costs of drugs to society are over £19 billion.
Experts warn this figure is more than twice the value of the market itself.
Lawrence Gibbons, Head of Drug Threat at the National Crime Agency, previously said: ‘The cocaine trade inevitably drives violence and destruction in the UK and abroad, ranging from violence and exploitation in source countries to young and vulnerable people on the streets of the UK put at significant risk.
‘Harmful elements of the cocaine trade cannot be avoided – forests are being destroyed and hazardous chemicals used to produce the drugs are dumped in waters.’