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Why is cocaine so strong at the moment... and where's it all coming from?

The changing political landscape in Colombia means coke in the UK is stronger, and cheaper, than many users can remember

  • Words: Mike Power | Illustration: Sam Taylor
  • 31 May 2017

Reports in the UK recently that batches of “100 per cent cocaine” had been found by police in the pensioner-populated backwater of Eastbourne on Britain’s South Coast were eye-catching and unexpected – but reporters missed the real story about cocaine in the UK in 2017.

Britain, from the highlands to the hinterlands, is absolutely awash in cocaine of a higher purity and at lower prices than most users have ever experienced. And the roots of the story lie in a few unexplored locations – in spaces both analogue and digital.

It’s unlikely the cocaine that was seized in Eastbourne was, as police claimed, of 100 per cent purity. The profit margins available both at the coca farm gate and by the time it reaches a street-level user anywhere in the UK makes that statistically and economically improbable.

Furthermore, Eastbourne, with its ageing population and, to say the least, somewhat restrained nightlife scene, is not a town that anyone would associate with abundant supplies of uncut cocaine. So, what’s going on?

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