pail mix it with cake.

All in the mix

To many they are perfect bedfellows but, as Mark Edmundson writes, cocaine and alcohol make for a lethal cocktail.

nce seen as a venerable panacea for human ailments. cocaine could be bought over the counter in Harrods until l9lo. Today the long and short-term detrimental effects of the drug are clear to see for those in the medical profession. but with a marked spike in cocaine related deaths in Scotland. the message doesn‘t seem to be getting through to the revellers in our pubs and nightclubs who appear happy to uphold the Parke-Davis pharmaceuticals” century-old assertion that cocaine ‘could make the coward brave. the silent eloquent. and render the sufferer insensitive to pain.‘ Within the 30 minute high that

common cocaine brings. each of

these claims might be true. but

with them comes a tangible risk of

sudden death by heart attack. stroke or brain haemorrhage. Things become all the more chilling when you consider the probability of sudden death is increased IX-fold when cocaine use is combined with the consumption of what most believe to be its natural ally. alcohol. Cocaine is tnore affordable than ever. and many find that the drug conveniently counteracts alcohol's debilitating effects. Police and pharmacologists agree that the recent rise in deaths reflect a general ignorance concerning the dangers of mixing cocaine with other substances. especially alcohol. which not only puts a greater strain on the heart but

increases the likelihood of liver


With this in mind. the Scottish Executive's Know The Score brand launched Scotland‘s first Cocaine Awareness Weekend last

month in the pubs and clubs of

Glasgow and Tayside in an attempt to bring attention to the risks associated with cocaine and the services available to users.

‘We would be putting our heads in the sand if we said there wasn‘t a problem out there.‘ concedes

Stephen McBride. Chairman of

West [End Pubwatch. an association of responsible license holders who working closely with the local constabulary and


licensing board —r catne together two years ago to support each other through common trade issues. ‘We‘re not saying our premises have a problem with drugs. but when we

are approached with this sort of

thing we are happy to get on board. We see it as putting the safety of our customers and staff lirst.'

Together with West lind Pubwatch. staff in 52 pubs and clubs donned their ‘don't mix with coke‘ 'li-shit'ts and handed out drink stirrers and leaflets for the event. run in partnership with Strathclyde and 'l‘ayside Police.

'I had a stroke last yezu and was yet}

shocked to be asked by hospital staff if

I was a cocaine tiserf says McBride. himselfa pzuticipating licensee. He too had no idea that strokes should be such a common effect of the drug. ‘l’eople don‘t realise the consequences of what they‘re doing.‘

The less immediate impact cocaine has on users‘ health. career and lifestyle have been well dm‘umentcd. not least on these pages. l'ltimately all of these negative effects must be weighed against that brief perception of omnipotence ~ an unnatural high that puts an unnatural and potentially lethal strain on the human body.

For non-judgemental information and advice call the 24 hour Know The Score helpline 0800 587 5879, or visit


Steve (not his real name) is an ex-cocaine addict. aged 36, who worked in the engineering sector and became a drug dealer. He has been clean for two-and-a-half years.

'I was first offered coke at a party when I was 22. and before long got into making money out of drug dealing and illegal activities. I was dealing in coke and using it as well. I thought I was invincible at that stage. I had girlfriends and parties to go to. I was the centre of attention and I loved being on coke and all that went with it.

‘By my late 20s I was in a relationship with another coke user and my health began to suffer. I developed chest pains and was filled with paranoia and fear. I was drinking heavily and doing coke and it became a vicious cycle of destruction.

‘By my early 303 my health was getting worse. I was having frequent palpitations. I ended up in the Priory and the doctors said that I was going to die. I then started going to CA meetings each day for four months and it felt good.

'CA has helped me come to terms with my feelings. Cocaine is a terrible and unattractive drug. My nose. my heart and my liver have all been permanently damaged. CA works with the support of people who have experienced the same as me. This has helped me to move on and get my life back and be the person I am.‘


I Cocaine Anonymous Scotland, 0741 959 6363. Meetings are held daily in Glasgow and weekly in Edinburgh and Irvine. www.cascotland. org. uk

'3—7’; Oct 2996 THE LIST 105