Faster than pizza
In Berlin, Vienna, London and other cities across Europe, 30% of users can now get cocaine delivered to their doors faster than pizza, a global study has found1. European consumption of the drug has been on the rise for a number of years. This trend is explained by increasing production in South America and easy availability. Recent data indicates that more than 140 tonnes of cocaine were seized in Europe in 2017 – a doubling of the figure for 20162.
Though it was once considered an elite drug, cocaine use is no longer confined to “high society”. A price drop and easy access have paved the way for coke to become a drug of the people. For example, there are hundreds of daily calls to cocaine “delivery services” in Berlin alone.
Cocaine is an insidious drug that quickly creates a severe psychological dependence. Its consumption produces an immediate high within just 20 to 60 minutes (depending on the form in which it is taken), associated with intense feelings of euphoria. This gives way to a phase of fatigue and tiredness, with the user craving another kick.
Both phases of the effects of cocaine are dangerous, especially when driving a motor vehicle. During the stimulating, euphoric stage, the user reacts with overconfidence and aggression. Meanwhile, during the end phase, drivers are at risk of falling asleep at the wheel.
DrugWipe 6 S Speicheltest: erkennt zuverlässig Kokain und 5 weitere Drogen.
The short duration of the cocaine high is reflected in the concentration gradient in the blood. The body breaks cocaine down relatively quickly into benzoylecgonine (BZE), its major metabolite*. This breakdown process continues after blood is taken and as the blood sample makes its way to the lab. However, this reaction can be delayed by using suitable blood collection tubes (containing fluoride or oxalate) and refrigerating the sample. Despite these measures, some degree of degradation is still inevitable. For this reason, it is important to get the blood sample to the lab as quickly as possible.
The instability of cocaine in the blood is the reason why BZE is listed alongside cocaine as the only non-psychoactive metabolite in the appendix to Section 24a of the German Road Traffic Act (Strassenverkehrsgesetz, StVG).
The detection of BZE is also useful for a second reason, especially in the context of roadside testing. During the final phase of the effects of cocaine, known as the “crash” or “comedown”, it is mainly BZE that circulates through the body. In this phase, the user still represents a risk to road traffic. This is why DrugWipe detects both cocaine and BZE
DrugWipe® for the reliable detection of cocaine on surfaces and skin and in saliva.
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1Global Drug Survey, London
2European Drug Report 2019, European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, Lisbon/Portugal
*A metabolite is an intermediate product in a biochemical metabolic pathway.