Charlie in Europe

Hot on the heels of the call by senior British police officers for cannabis to be re-reclassified (yawn) comes a story about cocaine use in Europe.

Statistics collated by the EU drugs agency EMCDDA show that use of the Bolivian marching powder is on the rise, and it is claimed that around 4.5 million Europeans are likely to have used cocaine in the past year – a million more than in 2006.

I would be interested to know how the numbers are gathered, as I fear that 4.5 million users is a significant underestimate.

Cocaine is one of two drugs of choice for middle class professionals, the other being alcohol. Its use is widespread, and, in the UK, traces are reported to have been found in law courts, the Westminster parliament and Labour Party conferences.

My concern that the EMCDDA figures do not represent reality is due to typical cocaine users not showing up on law enforcement radar screens. We are not talking about a subculture whose members’ lifestyles are frowned upon by decent, law-abiding people. Cocaine is the illicit drug of choice for the petite-bourgeoise and ruling classes.

Last night I caught part of an episode of the execrable TV drama Party Animals, which portrays the lives of 20-something London metrosexuals and career-obsessed young women employed as spin doctors and researchers for Labour and Tory politicians. And lo and behold, we see dinner partying political researchers snorting cocaine from glass-topped coffee tables.

Following last year’s report of middle-class cocaine use, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ian Blair (yes, him again!) promised a crackdown. Has it materialised? Not as far as I can see, going by what’s reported in the press.

I don’t mix with Charlie-users. The drug has a tendency to make users talk shite, and at interminable length. I would much rather converse with someone who has just smoked a spliff.

Let’s legalise the lot, and have done with this endless drug-scare bullshit.