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Cocaine Paraphernalia Ads in the 70s (rarehistoricalphotos.com)
571 points by mrzool 4 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 491 comments





A little digging and it appears these ads were in magazines like Hustler, Penthouse and High Times - not the The New York Review of Books or more mainstream titles, which makes much more sense.

https://flashbak.com/cocaine-advertising-of-the-1970s-1980s-... https://dangerousminds.net/comments/magazine_ads_from_the_he...


The mainstream ads never mentioned what the product was for.

My mom had almost collected someones "US States" mini spoons set, when someone told her they were coke spoons she lost her enthusiasm for getting the full set. Some truck stop or something had sold them as a promotional thing, coulda been anything but "mini spoons" were a popular utensil right then.

It was also amusing, as a kid in the 80s, when these things would come out at yard sales and such. Pop up with "how much for this?" and watch someone turn deep pink; or alternately get the last bit of someones antique stash that the rest of their family was unaware of.


McDonald’s briefly had these small plastic spoons as coffee stirrers in the 70’s. They really looked almost designed for coke. We made a lot of fun about it. By the next year they had switched to a flat plastic stirrer that could not hold anything. I think they heard all the jokes about getting a Big Mac and a Coke.

https://dangerousminds.net/content/uploads/images/made/conte...


Harry Turtledove wrote a great SF short story in 1988 that relates to this:

https://archive.org/stream/New_Destinies_06_1988-Winter_Gorg...


Nice! The twist at the end was a bit obvious, but I was expecting it to be a soda.

Coca-Cola used to have cocaine in it, so a version where the caffeine is removed instead of the cocaine would have made sense:

https://archives.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/coca-colas-scandalo...


They've been used in Russia to at least 00s.

Hm, I don't remember ever seeing these or jokes about these. Also how many mcdonalds restaurants were there in Russia in the 90s, anyway?

Not sure about Russia in general, but as I lived in Moscow, it was a staple already in the 90s.

I remember buying one of those little "paper rose in a glass tube" things, at a 7-11, once. Someone told me what it's actually for (crack stem).

In the 1970s (and eighties), people would grow their right pinky nail long.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7Nuac_rwgc&t=380s


> I remember buying one of those little "paper rose in a glass tube" things, at a 7-11, once.

Even has a Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_rose


My regular ice cream truck driver, in the very early 80s when I was maybe 7 years old, also dealt drugs out of the truck and had this long coke nail I was fascinated with. Everybody liked him, and he would front kids ice cream when they were broke.


I can't picture which spoons you mean, but decorative or souvenir spoons are definitely a thing. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Souvenir_spoon

He's referring to the coke spoons pictured in the article.

They're miniature size (e.g. only big enough for doing a bump of coke). Not full teaspoon size.


I'm not even sure many/any of those ads in the link were in anything resembling a mainstream publication in the first place.

These ads showed up in rock magazines like Creem and rolling stone, playboy, oui, counter culture newspapers, etc.

I am not sure if there is a name for this phenomenon, but it seems to be a frequent issue where, e.g., in this case some probably very limited run ads in obscure magazines only the fringe of society every even possibly saw are now in the future interpreted and assumed to have been seen by everyone, all the time, and were of far greater importance or impact than they really were in reality.

Does anyone know if there is a term for that kind of "bias" or self-deception?

The odd reflexive impact of that seems to be that today's historians and social sciences people are prone to falling prey to the "bias" and then weaving it into preconceived notions and narratives due to other biases like confirmation bias.


All of the magazines mentioned had massive circulations and were available at every 7-11 in the country.

A more interesting phenomenon is where media consumed by a tiny group of well-educated wealthy elites is considered universal or common. There's no way the New Yorker had a bigger circulation than Hustler in the 80s.

edit: according to wikipedia, Hustler's peak circulation in the 80s was 3 million copies a month.


> A more interesting phenomenon is where media consumed by a tiny group of well-educated wealthy elites is considered universal or common.

That's probably a consequence of those same elites controlling the media.


It's just shoddy analysis of sources.

You see it all the time on Facebook, or reddit, or wherever people post things like 'Did you know <group of ancient people believed> <something utterly ridiculous> without quantifying whether or not this was a common belief, or just a drinking story that they told.

An outsider who isn't careful about this might make a similar claim that modern Americans believe in a heroic lumberjack giant called Paul Bunyan, who has a giant pet blue ox. This is technically correct, but is also utterly useless as a description of modern Americans.


In this case, the ads were seen by far more people than understood them. Even those that asked and found out, many of them weren't interested and tuned it out mostly; so its not surprising if they do not remember it decades later.

History never has much to do with what actually happened, anyhow.


I guess there’s a fine line between drug innuendo and explicit promotion of drug use. A fine, powdered line…

Most of those ads are bit ... on the nose.

Snow doubt about it, sneaking illicit references past the squares seems like it was a lot easier back then.

https://youtu.be/t8tdmaEhMHE


I would follow Occam’s Razor to choose one or the other.


OMG, I lost it at the gold chains appearing. Thanks for that. :)

It's a pretty weird movie, somehow my stepdad rented it from the local video rental in the 80's and I watched it (at night) before my parents realized what it was about, otherwise it for sure wouldn't have passed the censor.

They snorted even that one.

Thank you, there's a bit of sensationalism in the article and that it wouldn't say where the ads ran was part of that. I was sure it wasn't in Time, and probably not Playboy.

I was curious whether the little spoons are still sold, since until now I had been unaware of the true purpose of those little things. Apparently, as of today they are the first item on Amazon when searching for miniature coke spoons.

"Tiny Snuff Spoon, Metal Micro Scoops Medicine Powder Spoon for Filling Vials, Spoon Pendants Necklace Loop, Set of 6"

The things people do.


This company specializing in flashlights and pocket gadgets would like to sell you a fancy titanium "ear pick".

https://shopmecarmy.com/products/ei2-titanium-edc-keychain-e...


Maybe I'm confused, but on [1], is the "fun" the bearing on top is meant to be used for a euphemism for some obscure act of violence, or do they actually just mean it's part pen part fidget toy?

[1] https://shopmecarmy.com/collections/featured-product/product...


Anyone who wants a weapon would likely just use the nearest available plastic pen, a humble but likely more effective instrument in all cases. However, can you imagine buying a $130 titanium jumbopen only to find out that it doesn't even spin? I would be absolutely livid. Wars have been started over less!

Indeed! If you watch the pen's 30 second video it becomes obvious - immediately - that the pen is a steal at that price. It would still be a bargain when sold at for least $349.00.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yw-rWiVdAlk


Oh, not only does it spin but you get a bit of flashyness from the internals. Definitely worth it.

I think they were absolutely not saying it is for an act of violence.

I remember all the little "coffee stirrers" with the comically tiny spoon like ends. Of course the explanation was it's for stirring your coffee or adding a little sugar. Though who adds a tiny bump of sugar to their coffee? Turns out it was for coke and they were commonly available everywhere. The McDonalds ones were semi famous for that.

Its similar to those little fake flowers in a glass tube on counters in corner stores which make great crack pipes (same with those short cheap tire pressure gauges). Or the cheap looking socks they oddly sell which are useful for tie off before shooting heroin.


> those short cheap tire pressure gauges

Oh funny, I wondered why they had so many of these at the gas station by the checkout. I bought one and it was terrible for telling my tire pressure. I could not understand why so many people wanted to measure their tire pressure.


Many, many years ago, naive me bought my girlfriend one of those roses at a 7-Eleven, and I still remember her response: "Oh, Honey, you bought me a craaack pipe!" We're not together anymore.

sad story

Plenty of people, including me, fill tires with free air at gas stations which gets them in the door. It's not surprising that cheap tire pressure gauges would be sold near the checkout, unrelated to drug use.

Usually the air nozzle has one built in these days (maybe only the pay ones)

They'll surely all allow some kind of measurement, otherwise someone will overfill their tyre, burst it, and then sue for the fact the explosion has left them with brain damage.

Car tyre explosions are pretty deadly...


Same. I promptly threw it away and bought an actual tire pressure gauge from a car dealer.

Same. Mine flew apart on first use, and now I feel naive.

You're on a list somewhere.

Lol

> little "coffee stirrers" with the comically tiny spoon like ends

The real industrial product, that these are the "recreational version" of, is the lab scoop or lab spatula. See e.g. https://www.amazon.com/Aozita-Pack-Lab-Spatula-Nickel-Stainl...

If you do your own compounding of supplement powders, nootropics, etc. into gelcaps, you probably own one of these.

Bonus fact: there's a brand of lab scoops with a very fun name — the scoopula (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scoopula). It's so fun to say that that's just what many people call lab scoops, not realizing it's a brand.


Love the product description!

"Works great for scientists or people working with small amounts of the powder "


Those all sound like urban legends.

The coffee stirrers are for ... stirring your coffee. They look like a small spoon just because that shape works well for stirring the beverage.


The glass rose is definitely for smoking crack. Else why is it ofen sold as a combo with a peice of (also-required) chore-boy. 5 bucks for both. Usually on the same shelf with the round-ended meth pipes which dont seem to require any cover but being called "oil burner"

Don't forget the modern incarnation, borosilicate-glass "reusable drinking straws." Now up-market grocery stores can get in on the action!

Not that they can't be repurposed, but imo the main reason for those is that it's hard to tell when your steel straw is dirty.

https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/642413/mcdonalds-cocaine...

The others were listed in a similar article. The small tire pressure gauge was told to me by a friend who at one point had a crack habit and used said items to smoke crack and said it was a well known item to use for such a purpose.


Your original comment makes it sound like the main purpose of the small spoon is for cocaine - "Turns out it was for coke". But it's not "for coke", it's for stirring your coffee, and it's just that cocaine users found an alternative use for it. The article makes this pretty clear.


Okay, you convinced me about that one (I haven't heard about this love rose thing before, and I don't live in the US). But my point about the stirrers still stands.

I also think that the cheap socks are just that. But maybe they're popular due to their additional unintended use.


The size of the clientele for many of these things probably would have been much smaller without the illicit uses, and they probably were created without illicit motives. Once there is demand, however, the further use was probably quantifiable as legit vs. off-brand use and even if one maker of glass tubes (for e.g.) stops because they're useful as rock pipes of some kind, someone else would be happy to pick up the slack.

No offence, but what's the additional unintended use of cheap socks?

thanks for the link. I have seen full sized roses in plastic tubes at gas stations and I was trying to figure out how those could be used for drugs. These little ones make more sense.

I think I was 15 when I called bullshit on that coffee spoon. I didn't understand what was going on exactly, but part of me knew that was a stupid size for coffee. I may have even joked about it being for cocaine, but I don't think I was serious about that. Nobody where I lived used cocaine, right?

Right?


That ugly disposable McDonald's branded spoon doesn't strike me as something that 70s-80s era women would view as being "cool" or "hip". I really doubt a guy like Burt Reynolds would spend a few grand on a small amount of blow and then cheap out on the spoon.

https://www.craigslist.org/about/best/sfo/27499971.html

They steal spark plugs for the ceramic parts too...


Every once in a while, even urban legends can turn out to be true:

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/stirring-response/


That link actually throughly refutes what the OP claimed.

They claimed that drug paraphernalia was being sold as "coffee stirrers" (wink, wink) that nobody would actually use for coffee.

That link says people were using actual coffee stirrers to also snort cocaine. Their original intended use was as coffee stirrers, not drug paraphernalia.

There's a gigantic difference.


Indeed, and for all the people scoffing at how they can't possibly be coffee stirrers, most coffee shops nowadays give you tiny plastic or wooden twigs, which are far less effective at actually stirring, and yet still get the job done ok.

A small spoon at the end of a modern stirrer would be much more effective, yet I guess people would accuse them of selling drug paraphernalia.


I can remember the decent stirrers and always wondered why it's lousy ones everywhere now. Sheesh.

No, there's an absurdly minor difference. Plenty of "coffee stirrers" were intentionally manufactured as coke spoons, and plenty of earnest coffee stirrers were used instead as coke spoons.

McDonald's was obviously not intentionally trying to manufacture coke spooks for absolutely no conceivable gain, but I bet their packaging designers looked at a lot of random coffee stirrers and tried to make one that looked like the fanciest of those.


Worked 3rd shift for a gas station for a year and a half. Seedy elements would come in and ask for the glass roses regularly, but we didn't sell them because they were known paraphernalia.

The socks are for huffing paint/other solvents. Most junkies won't even need to tie off, and if they do they'll buy the shoelaces that are sold right next to the socks!

There is a whole other world going on right in front of me that I had no idea existed.

yeah a lot of people are dying right now from fentanyl polluted cocaine, and it is fairly obvious from the reports but every thread goes the same way:

"its so insensitive to suggest this person I respected did drugs, how dare you!"

++20 comments of arguing

<toxicology article comes out>: It was fentanyl in their cocaine.

until this aspect of supply chain control gets taken seriously by the government without worrying about acknowledgment equalling condoning, the ignorance is going to keep perpetuating because the education was done so poorly. abstinence-only education doesn't work.


Saw that there is fentanyl laced pot in US states now, especially in Connecticut which is very surprising as Connecticut is a legal state. Articles were all light on details so I wonder where the marijuana is purchased from. I would be surprised if it was a dispensary. If not a dispensary though, why are people buying pot from street level dealers when anyone can just walk into a dispensary and buy lab tested legal marijuana?

> If not a dispensary though, why are people buying pot from street level dealers when anyone can just walk into a dispensary and buy lab tested legal marijuana?

Many frameworks are doing heavy ID data collection in the stores, instead of just glancing at your ID. This makes a lot of people uncomfortable, whether it is an anti-establishment user avoiding the government their whole life, to school teachers or religious leaders, or one of the 20 million Americans working for the federal government let alone someone with a clearance or a federal contract.

Secondly, the cost and punitive taxes are high to many people.


Exactly. Many people are one regulatory change away from alot of problems. Another potential issue is insurance - if your life insurer obtains records that you’re buying marijuana, your family may see their insurance claim challenged if you carry a non-smoker policy.

“Background Checks” are the magical non-solution for many problems. Between work, church activities and youth sports, I probably have 6-8 entities running background checks of varying levels of intrusiveness on me annually. I’m sure that information is shared with all sorts of third parties.


Seems like the cure for all of this is for politicians to get around to making it federally legal. That would involve going against their lobbyists / donors so not sure its going to happen any time soon. Would be pleasantly surprised if it did though.

DanceSafe, a harm reduction focused non-profit, had this to say regarding the recent news about it:

"We've gotten a lot of inquiries about the recent Connecticut statement confirming the presence of #fentanyl in a lab-tested cannabis sample. This article breaks this down in a way that we align with, but we have some additional comments.

Regarding the issue of this lab report as a whole: 1. It is unclear why the lab report designates that the sample contained delta-9 THC, marijuana, and fentanyl. We are confused by the separate designation of delta-9 THC and marijuana, since THC is a component of marijuana (along with over 100 other cannabinoids). We will be contacting the lab to inquire further. 2. As elucidated in this article, the circumstances around this test are unclear and we are missing additional information. We are tentatively agreeing that this appears to be a confirmed report of fentanyl in cannabis, but we do not believe that this represents any sort of market trend at this time, and more information is required to determine how and why this might have happened.

Regarding this article, we have some disclaimers about language/content that we disagree with: 1. It is technically possible to "smoke" fentanyl. Fentanyl can be burned and destroyed in direct contact with flame, but it is feasible for fentanyl to be close enough to a flame to vaporize. 2. We're not happy about the choice to say "All it takes is one idiot who thinks it's a good idea to mix fentanyl in marijuana and we can have a cluster of overdoses." People have been speedballing all kinds of drugs for ages. This can be a risky behavior, but we still do not condone calling people idiots - especially when drug education has been made intentionally inaccessible and healthcare is prohibitively expensive and difficult to acquire.

Additional general notes: 1. If someone wanted to intentionally mix fentanyl into their weed, they'd most likely dissolve it in alcohol and spray it on, not just crumble a tiny and possibly lethal dose of it on top of a random part of a nug. 2. You cannot use fentanyl test strips on cannabis (or any other organic material). We are not concerned about fentanyl in cannabis at this time. 3. The risk of cannabis being contaminated with fentanyl remains astronomically low, if it exists at all. Until additional information arises, we can assume that there was indeed fentanyl present in this cannabis. For now, we don't know anything about the how or why. 4. Strong, harsh taste when smoking illicit market cannabis is most likely an indicator that you have picked up synthetic cannabis of some sort. Synthetic cannabinoids are sprayed onto potpourri and other plant matter. It is very unlikely that you would have smoked anything sprayed with PCP (which is virtually nonexistent in the U.S.), and nearly statistically impossible that you would be smoking something containing fentanyl."


Because people actually want to buy fentanyl laced products. I've known people addicted to stimulants that they buy knowing that they are cut with fentanyl just to get that combination with the opioid high.

Do you think that's the case for cocaine? Personally, I have a hard time believing that because of both the type of high cocaine is for and because that seems like a worst case for a mix since mixing fentanyl in a powder seems like it would be error prone to me, but I can't deny that people do crazy shit.

Yes this and also some states are highly over taxed / priced so people are willing to pay competitive street prices in blind faith.

I feel like this is a parable for A/B testing without considering the consequences.

For McDonald's, straws and stirrers are provided gratis, so you aren't succeeding if you raise demand for the stirrer. If a stirrer sold you more coffee, then it was a success. Just like the thicker straw sold more shakes (some of their competitors never figured that out, and one wonders if they ever actually talked to a customer or just sat in smoky meeting rooms bullshitting all day).

However coffee being a stimulant, there is probably some overlap between the two demographics. It'd be hard to track if a lot of stirrers left with a coffee drinker but were unused for coffee. So perhaps in fact they did sell extra coffee to cocaine users and just patted themselves on the back for the increased revenue.


I live a life of ignorance.

Ignorance is bliss.

Except that it heavily contributes to supporting foolish policies and the bliss quickly wears off and requires ever increasing amount of ignorance to achieve the same bliss … see today's policies for reference.

We are talking about different "ignorance".

I.e. ignorance of the drug underworld vs social ignorance of policy makers

To get "true" knowledge (lack of ignorance) on the suffering of drug abuse, one must experience it in some way, so avoiding this experience is the "ignorance" that leads to the "bliss"

Or at least that is my interpretation of the saying :)


I don’t understand why you would sell that; are crack addicts really a worthwhile demographic to attract as costumers?

A glass tube bought for $0.50 and sold for $5.00 is a 1000% ROI

But it’s also just $4.50. I wouldn’t like to attract crackheads for that.

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-MgX_VMXj3Sc/YZvryBNXhUI/AAAAAAAAg... "finest center cuts of imported African ivory"

Wow. That and https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-w3Xc47mDO8E/YZvrzIxkirI/AAAAAAAAg... ("solid Honduras mahogany") really hit me.

I wonder what they see 50 years from now and shake their heads about what we squandered. My guess is "wild caught salmon" and atoll beach resorts.


Might take longer than 50 years, but I would bet things go even further to simply "salmon" -- the not-lab-grown variety, that is, and same for other meat.

Nah, all they will eat is salmon, it will be excess from the iron fertilization they use to counteract global warming. They will have to harvest the salmon boom to protect the algae bloom or the albedo will drop and cook everyone.

It's funny that these are marketed as luxury products that sell for under $40. I mean, I know inflation is a thing, but $40 was not a lot of money back then.

$40 in 1970 would be $269.50 today. That seems like a luxury straw..

https://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=40usd+1970+in+2021


As a side note: the 70s saw a particularly high level of inflation. Note that the equivalent price in 1980 was ~$85, so it doubled in one decade. If that level of inflation stayed constant (doubling every decade), then it would be equivalent to about $1,280 today.

https://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=40usd+1970+in+1980


That's about the price of a previous-gen video game console with a game or two, not really a luxury good IMO.

If you're getting as much entertainment out of a straw as a video game console and 2 games, you might be in the target audience for these ads.

When a literal post-it note will achieve the same function, it most definitely is a luxury. It's just another form of peacocking.

many products promoted as "luxury" are about telling middle class people that their products imitate upper class signals, without that actually being true. Thus they're usually expensive for a salaried worker but not beyond affordable - whereas products that the upper class genuinely use to signal are well beyond the balance of wage labourers.

Film and games glorifying defiance of authority.

Everyone listens to the gods in ancient myth, as we know.

Typically, they paid for it. Hubris was sin, you know, and the myths were didactic.

Defying authority is glorious much of the time.

Today. But many first-world regimes seem to be on the cusp of ending that perspective.

It's so curious that cocaine is still illegal, one could assume purely as a side effect of the nations that produce it and the complications that are involved with those in charge of distributing it, which some might argue is a byproduct of it being illegal in the first place.

When taken on its own, it's a surprisingly mild stimulant as a nasal snuff, not at all like in the movies. When taken nasally, it has a short half life, low potential for adverse side effects in normal adults, and only causes alcohol like euphoria in the highest doses. I can see why it is still used in medicine, it is highly efficacious, and some day I can see it being tolerated, if not legalized.

It might just be me being old, as we tend to remember the positives more than the negatives, but this was a nice trip down memory lane. It is unfortunate that the hobby has settled/devolved into its lowest element, these days.


I have a friend who dabbled in coke for a few weeks. I hung out with her once while she was high, and she was uncharacteristically mean. At some point she decided her life was becoming too focused on doing coke and told me she was selling what she had left. It took a while for her to finally commit to her last dose, but she managed to get rid of the cocaine, largely motivated by the money she would recover.

For weeks after, she would crave and daydream about cocaine. The fact that, despite being able to quit, she missed it that much made me decide to never ever try it. I know people get addicted to games or gambling or whatever else, but it seemed pretty bad.


Everyone I have ever met who is on cocaine has been a complete ass for the duration. Even people that I normally get on with just become utterly intolerable and blind to the damage it's doing to their relationships with people aren't taking.

From my limited experience, it removes filters sort of like being drunk, except without as much debilitation. The mean things being said could have been someone that enjoys being a bit mean (snarky/biting) but refrains from friends, or someone that is sometimes unintentionally insensitive but is more cautious in their speech normally to prevent it, and that caution is lost.

For me, it was a chance for me to ask a bunch of questions of people about things I was curious about but were probably none of my business or impolite to talk about, so I suspect to some degree I was guilty of the latter one.

I will say that it was incredibly enjoyable when I took it with the people I was with, which were in mostly safe and contained environments. If the draw to both immediately do more and to seek it out weeks and months later to repeat the experience wasn't so strong, I would recommend it to everyone to try at least once. As it is, I would be cautious if trying for the first time and space out usage if you tend to overindulge and/or aren't one to naturally self-regulate.


I don’t condone cocaine but I can bet you a lot more people aren’t telling you that they’re on cocaine.

Buddy we know when you're on cocaine were just polite about it.

You're clearly projecting in a massive way. I know plenty of people who do coke, some regularly some rarely, and they are among the nicest people I know, primarily because I don't associate with people who aren't generally nice.

Sounds like you were just associating with pricks and those pricks happened to use a popular drug.


He may be wrong, and he may just hang out with jerks, but none of that means he is projecting.

just like the teachers who claim to know when students are teaching?

They all make the same speech but Somehow they never seem to know about it when 7 people in the class got a copy of test in advance and prepared answers. For every student who's bad a cheating and got caught, there is >15 that the teacher never knew about.


;-)

It’s not exactly free of side effects, but a lot of the adverse affects on mood come from doing it when you already feel bad and from sleep deprivation.

Generally yes. The people I've hung out with while they were doing coke were pushy, mildly aggressive, and would just. not. shut. the. fuck. up. Being sober around cokeheads is not a pleasant experience.

That said, I did coke once(well, twice, but I'm pretty sure the second time was foot powder). It was absolutely serene. I felt crystal clear, dialed in, and perfectly zen. I didn't have a desire to talk, but to just observe. I felt like I had the hearing of a cat. Then again, I probably have unmedicated ADHD. No commercial stimulants have ever made me feel like that though.


Coke's reputation is WAY worse than what it deserves.

I guarantee you these "I tried it a few times and can't stop thinking about it" stories are complete BS.

The effects are very short lived and the more you take the more edgy, nervous and wired you get. It becomes really hard to enjoy.

I guesstimate that 80% of all coke is consumed by completely "normal" people after a few drinks in a bar on the weekends, and that's that. No craving, character changes and all that stuff.


There have been studies that show certain people are far more susceptible to cocaine addiction than others. Same as with alcohol. But for most people, developing a problematic addiction seems very rare.

Some people are just destined to become addicted to something. Anyone who's ever been drunk has an idea of the level of dedication and the massive amount of work that would be involved in becoming an alcoholic. Being drunk constantly is far too much work for most people and becoming a coke addict is exponentially more expensive and less convenient than being a drunk. Every 15 minutes snorting or every 5 minutes smoking cocaine just isn't something most people would ever attempt to do for stretches longer than an evening.

I haven't used it, but I am in principle tolerant of drug use. The three metrics of legalization/safety I have heard are: Level of addiction, Ease of overdose, and long term health impact.

You say cocaine in small amounts is a dandy stimulant. I take Adderall for ADHD occasionally, and I've been told by those who have used both that the differences in effect are smaller than one might guess. And while I suppose I could OD by taking a bunch of Adderall pills, I don't have a "drive" to keep on taking more for a short term hit.

My rambling is to say: My impression of cocaine use is that it does long term damage to the body and the nasal cavity, and that its short-term high makes people chase it more and thus is ripe for OD.

So I'm not too shocked that it's a controlled substance vs. something like cannabis.


Cocaine also induces microischemia - basically constricts your capillaries and starves the neurons/glia of oxygen. This happens slowly over time and is cumulative.

As mentioned, coke is high on the abuse potential scale due to its rapid onset and withdrawal, short loop between behavior and reward.

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/brains-blood-cocaine


Alcohol also causes ischemia. Prescription amphetamines also cause ischemia but are legal.

> As mentioned, coke is high on the abuse potential scale due to its rapid onset and withdrawal, short loop between behavior and reward.

I wonder if attaching an amino acid (a la Vyvanse) would improve its pharmacokinetic profile to reduce this addiction potential. We'll never know, because its not legal to do research on medical potential for Schedule I drugs.


Not to mention that people are highly functional while high on it. So there’s no downtime on when you can be high.

You, adderall is litwrallymphramacuetical grade amphetamine.

Of course it should be legal. But the way you talk about it is so bizarre. Cocaine has ruined so many lives. It's incredibly addicting to some. It can destroy your nose, literally putting holes inside of it.

Misuse of anything is going to have ill effects. People with improper hygiene and care will develop all kinds of adversities from its use. Assuming you checked out the link, there are several devices dedicated to nasal hygiene as evidence that these people exist. Liquid cocaine is popular for a reason, allow me to explain:

Cocaine by itself is a desiccant, it seeks moisture, which is why it gets clumpy in humid areas. When it is used nasally, it dries the nasal mucosa, and triggers a mucous secretion response, which then dissolves it and allows it to pass into the capillaries in the sinuses, throat, and lungs. This cycle of drying repeatedly can cause a sclerosis of the nasal membrane, which can eventually erode the tissues affected by it.

Conversely, when proper hygiene is observed, like with nasal washes, or using liquid cocaine directly, the desiccant properties are eliminated and damage is avoided: this is how ocular cocaine is prepared and used with no adverse effects in medicine - eye surgery, etc.

I take exception to your comment about it being 'bizarre', it doesn't help the conversation to begin with an adversarial tone.


All fair, and I didn't mean that to be 'adversarial'. It was just bizarre in that, I have never seen someone speak so positively about cocaine lol. I was pointing out is I think, when talking about the pros, it might be worth mentioning the cons for some stuff

Other than being illegal, there is not a whole lot wrong with it, relatively speaking. Let's disregard cigarettes and alcohol, those are too easy. Look at food, the majority of my country is eating themselves to their early deaths, and experience all manner of outcomes worse - diabetes, cancers, immobility, sudden heart attacks.

I'm not saying it doesn't have some risks, but I am saying with all other things considered, these are the same risks associated with running, sex, and spirited debates.

Consider this: It's normal for people to do this thing where they feign not being able to function without coffee in the AM but it is somehow not socially acceptable to have a bit of cocaine on some weekends. Let us consider that it's a dual standard for what is essentially the same thing, enhanced attentiveness, a brief euphoria, better focus, and an urge to poop.

If all addictions are equal, isn't the person who can't function without coffee or cigarette the same as people who can't go without a line? So you might ask "I've never seen someone steal to buy coffee, but I've seen people steal to buy coke, why is that?"

My estimate is that it is because one is normalized and one isn't, you simply have a subset of people who are self admittedly okay with breaking 'the law' by doing coke, so naturally they might normalize theft as well since it is a hobby that is so highly penalized only those with the shakiest hold on reality/morality is likely to do it. That distorts the image of it, and we then begin to develop this social stigma.

Ergo, legalize it, you won't have more of this any more than you have coffee-heads who happen to also be thieves.


You're completely ignoring the fact that just a couple grams of cocaine can kill a person. It might not be particularly easy to take a lethal overdose of cocaine but consider how easy it is compared to other popular substances: nicotine, alcohol, cannabis, coffee, psychedelics, etc. It's an immediately dangerous substance that can cause serious harm in a short moment of disinhibiton, which I think justifies it's illegality inasmuch as any recreational drug should be illegal.

You're right -- the lethal dosage of cocaine is about 95 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. This translates to about 6.5 grams for a 150-lb person. [0]

You neglected to mention that the lethal dose for caffeine is in the same magnitude -- "150-200mg per kg of body weight, or 5 to 10 grams of total caffeine ingested, is considered lethal." [1]

Given that the street price of cocaine in the USA is around $120 / gram [2], it would cost about $780 to overdose. Meanwhile, I can easily and legally order 16 grams of caffeine tablets online (or in any CVS) [3] for $11.49 -- enough to kill two people.

Does this cause you to rethink any assumptions?

Don't forget -- at one time, drinking coffee in public was punishable by death. [4]

[0] https://gracerecovery.com/cocaine-overdose-amount/ [1] https://www.verywellmind.com/can-you-overdose-on-caffeine-21... [2] https://www.statista.com/chart/18527/cocaine-retail-steet-pr... [3] https://www.cvs.com/shop/cvs-health-caffeine-tablets-80ct-pr... [4] https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/was-coffee-ever-illega...


You don't go psychotic and destroy your brain from neurotoxic doses from chronic caffiene abuse. In the past you could take cocaine like you took coffee, but only stimulants were the ones to be pretty much universally controlled. Many countries do not even allow the entire category of stimulants to be prescribed as a medication for ADHD, such as Japan or Germany.

It's a lot safer if you just eat it, similar effects and method of action to Ritalin.

Yup, that's my preferred method of intake. Quick, easy, clean. I don't understand why people bother making lines, or using spoons or whatnot. Sure, the onset is a bit slower, but I'm rarely in that kind of a hurry.

Edit: Interesting that someone would downvote something that is purely subjective.


Insufflation generally makes a compound more bioavailable and gives a higher peak but a far shorter duration. It can take 100mg orally to get a normal bump effect. So people view it as wasting coke, but the effects can last 4-6 hours.

A former pope used and endorsed a coca wine back in the day. Seems it was very popular for a while.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vin_Mariani


Also one of Thomas Edison's favorite drinks! He's famous for rarely sleeping and working continuously -- I wonder how much of the effects are due to Vin Mariani vs his natural work ethic.

What do you do about the levamisole?

Tobacco and Alcohol have ruined an infinite number more of lives VS cocaine yet are legal.

Should we make MDMA, opium, heroin and crack legal to purchase and broadly available for all adults without any form of prescription? After all, Tobacco and Alcohol is legal...

Here is the thing, some highs are much more potent and addictive than others. Growing up in the 90's and having seen the damages of heroin, I'd say no, it doesn't matter whether Tobacco or Alcohol are also legal.


Yes, definitely. If you're talking about instantly killing the fentanyl problem dead, bringing a bunch of people who have marginalized back into the community, reducing property crime, and saving a lot of lives, you couldn't make a better choice.

Legalizing drugs would make drug addicts far more accessible to drug treatment schemes. Regulating the supply would additionally make being a drug addict a lot safer and less dominating for one's life. Heroin is safe. It's the universe of things around heroin that kill. Lots of being murdered, and going to prison; fent ods, MRSA infections, liver failure from Hep C, AIDS; doing crime and betraying everyone you know to get a substance that costs a nickel a dose to manufacture. All of these are symptoms of drug enforcement, not heroin.


I'd hope its clear to most people by now that opioids are viciously addictive in a way virtually no other substances are. Lumping them together with other drugs is disingenuous.

I largely agree with you but I’m not sure MDMA belongs here. You do see people who are addicted to MDMA, I know of someone who goes through a gram every weekend, but in most cases if you use MDMA too frequently it’ll stop feeling special. It’s kind of inherently anti-addictive.

Yes, 100%

Legalized and taxed drugs make them safer for all and reduce the amount of deaths we see from overdoses.


My decision to not use heroin has zero to do with its legality status.

I never said they haven't? They have indeed!

Deeply unpopular opinion here but I can attest to a few friends that sought help for Marijuana addiction. There is a whole community that's helping people get off of Marijuana: https://www.reddit.com/r/leaves/

I am fine with legalization of many drugs but one has to watch out for excess and lack of moderation. And the stench, I smell Marijuana in my apartment complex and it has sort of ruined a beautiful courtyard. I wish it was not so potent and people really need to be courteous (same with Tobacco).


There is also /r/Petioles for people who want to moderate their usage :) https://www.reddit.com/r/Petioles/

What does that have to do with cocaine? They're different drugs, don't confuse the two.

The "addiction" doesn't have anything to do with particular drugs, it's an underlying flaw that can be triggered by more or less anything that's enjoyable enough and meets a few other requirements. Sex, gambling, food, eating one's own hair, huffing glue, cutting oneself, and the list just goes on.

Dependency on the other hand is a tangible scientifically provable phenomenon that can be cured in a matter of days for any drug. Cocaine dependency is no different from caffeine or nicotine dependency and is over after 3 days of abstinence.


I respectfully disagree that it should be legal. In my younger years I went through a month of hard use. It was awful. It makes you act completely out of character-more aggressive, less inhibitions when performing risky activities (e.g., speeding, theft, approaching members of the opposite sex), and you can actually do a lot of damage because, unlike alcohol, you are high functioning the whole time. I don't want to think about living in a society where that's legal.

Respectfully, you learned that it's not for you, but do you think you deserved to go to jail for trying it?

For me, everyone is entitled to make that decision, and if legal, a lot of the problems the black market creates go away, the largest of which is not imprisoning people for a victimless crime.


So you're saying that we should just punish the eventual crime of theft, not the factor that contributed to the theft. I can support that argument.

However, there's also the fact that the substance is basically a harmful addictive poison. We spend so much time building legislation that prevents harmful chemicals from being sold to consumers. We punish companies for selling legal opiates due the harm it causes consumers. Why would we push to legalize a harmful chemical?


> It makes you act completely out of character-more aggressive, less inhibitions when performing risky activities (e.g., speeding, theft, approaching members of the opposite sex), and you can actually do a lot of damage because, unlike alcohol, you are high functioning the whole time.

I find it interesting that all the symptoms you list also result from wealth. Maybe being a billionaire should be illegal too.


Oh gosh, I've seen enough people use cocaine that I wouldn't call it a "mild" stimulant by any stretch of my imagination. It's basically a stronger form of caffeine.

One friend of mine with severe ADHD turns completely normal on it. Everyone else that I've seen use it becomes an asshole. I'm pretty open minded about letting adults choose what they want to do with their bodies, but I don't like being around people using coke.

Edit: If it wasn't for the cardiac issues, I'd wonder if it would make a better ADHD medicine.


Cocaine is a local anesthetic AND a vasoconstrictor. So some surgeons will rub it into a cut to stop both bleeding and pain.

Sure seems like it would be handy to have in a first aid kit, if it weren't for that pesky euphoria!


Doesn't a coke habit permanently mess with your dopamine receptors? Literally makes it harder for you to function as a human, even after you stop.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.


> Doesn't a coke habit permanently mess with your dopamine receptors? Literally makes it harder for you to function as a human, even after you stop.

Not really... Your body is really good at adapting and your body will compensate when drugs put it out of homeostasis, when your you stop taking those drugs your body will stop compensating for it. You won't be "permanently" depressed after quitting a coke habit and you won't have "permanently" shrunk balls after quitting steroids etc. etc.


I don't know about permanence, but some former steroid users suffer from prolonged hypogonadism, which causes testicular atrophy.

0. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23764075/

1. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal...


This is actually downplaying it. This would happen to 100% of steroid users, but thank god for the internet: it allowed people 1) to share the science about how to do steroids (and auxiliary drugs) in a way that avoids this, and 2) to order the necessary products from overseas with confidence in their authenticity.

post hoc ergo proctor hoc

Don't Latin if you can't Latin. English would have been just as good.

Cocaine is a far more mild stimulant than most prescription speed. Though it is sometimes cut with more potent stimulants.

Yep. Same as a regular Ritalin or Adderall habit: when you stop taking them, you have a withdrawal effect. That convinces many that the drugs work. ("Look at what a mess I am without it!")

The withdrawal from a serious coke addiction has got to be much more severe, though.


Same is true for any stimulant, like legally prescribed ADHD medication.

Coke is one of the drugs I'd be fine with staying illegal.

> low potential for adverse side effects

Something like 5% get heart attacks from it.

Imagine going to a bar and 2-3 people just dying that night, every night.


Are you suggesting that out of every 100 people who consume cocaine on a given night, 5 of them have a heart attack? Even DARE didn't lie that outrageously.

Ok, sorry. The stats is more like "cocaine causes 5% of all under 50 heart attacks" - https://www.healthline.com/health/cocaine-heart-attack#effec...

While it's likely a trigger to pre-existing condition it's not really safe at all like many try to paint. Same goes to most drugs really - OD's are very easy to do once you are on a binge.

I'm all in for recreational use, but these problems shouldn't be ignored. Keeping drugs illegal does not help, but having unmarked little baggies and candy all around little ones is very dangerous.


Or the the LD50 for doing coke is 20 times?

Source?

The heart attack stats are likely incorrect. An international WHO study on cocaine[0] concluded:

  "A majority of health consequences may not be directly attributed to cocaine use. Cocaine often contributes to or exacerbates the conditions reported, rather than causing them."

  "Few experts describe cocaine as invariably harmful to health. Cocaine-related problems are widely perceived to be more common and more severe for intensive, high-dosage users and very rare and much less severe for occasional, low-dosage users."
0. https://www.tni.org/files/article-downloads/2007030814092750...

As a child of the late 1960s, early 1970s, that was a messed up time. After the assassinations and riots of the late 60s, Kent State, Watergate, the end of the Vietnam war, people were done. The drugs just flowed. I was frequently a designated driver for my trashed friends. A lot of those people that did the most drugs are now some of the most wrapped up conservative ass hats as adults. I can't talk to them, haven't been able to in years. Their excuse is always "It was wrong then, and I'll be damned if I am going to let others make the same mistake." My own kids (Gen Z) were all so much more rational through their teenage years. There is hope for the world as long as the old farts just sit down and shut up. I only speak up because I am sick and tired of my peers. There should definitely be an upper age limit to serving in Public office, and maybe even an upper age limit to voting.

The ivory ads are probably the best.

"The drugs you consume fund an international racket of abuse. Why not display it with the abuse of animals?"


> In 1986, under Ronald Reagan, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act was passed. [...] The act also created the first laws against money laundering or moving illegally obtained money (such as drug sale proceeds) into or out of bank accounts.

The Bank Secrecy Act was enacted in 1970. Money laundering had already been on the books. Reagan’s drug law widened the scope and increased the record-keeping and reporting requirements. I think Nixon is the one who has the distinction of enacting the “first” AML law.



I feel like the thing missing here is which magazines. Just like you can find unlawful/illegal websites before the web were magazines and books. So, were these in mainstream publications or were they in already outlawed publications?

Curiously the website is called "Rare Historical Photos" but the premise under which this is [so] shocking is that these are not rare adverts.


Half the ads say "Find it at your nearest headshop" or something to that effect. These were in stoner magazines and these adverts and products never really went away from that space to be fair.

I belive Husler. I seem to have 70's Hustler graphics stuck in my brain stem? It seemed like all the nudie magazines, except Playboy, and Penthouse, had a lot of drug paraphernalia. (My dad had a stash of Playboys, and the kid down the street's father favored Hustler.)

As a kid, I remember seeing 5000 Sudafed (actually the main chemical ingredient) for $20. I was always confused. Why would anyone want so much cold medicine, and later on--they must be for confusing the drug buyers.

Even with all the advertising, and copious amounts of Sudafed, making meth was an unknown to many drug dealers.

I had a chem teacher in college who liked to tell about the student he had who made meth, and sold it. Forget his name? Anyway, the word was he ruined his eyesight because early on he worked with too much mercury. There was one student who kept her book open during the test. He would walk up/down the isles and couldn't spot her cheating.

Low grade coke was everywhere. I tried it three times in my twenties. I was offered it at parties. All three times off duty cops offered it to me. Yea--probally evidence. I never felt anything though? It was weak, or my constitution was different?

A lot of people smoked cigarettes. Coke was around. Drinking was like today, but one for the road was real. Opiates were only for the down, and out.


I yearn for the day where all drugs are legal.

No difference between cocaine and caffeine or alcohol. They’re all drugs if you remove your bias and conditioning.


Bias and conditioning? There is large and measurable variability in potency, effect, and dependency formation. Anyone with any sense sees the difference between coffee, marijuana, pcp, and heroin.

I'm on three of those right now, two more to boot.

It's the dose that makes the potency and effect.

The dose available to the end-user is determined from the drug itself and the supply chain, since it is unregulated. If it were regulated, the individual doses would be more controlled, allowing for less habitual redosing, and less acute mental and physical dependency.

Imagine you want a beer but hafta volumetrically dose it from 100% grain alcohol and cider. It'd be easier to become an alcoholic. Similarly, it is harder to "responsibility" enjoy heroin/fent or coke/meth because every time I want a small amount, I have to stare at a weeks worth for a brief moment.

The illegality of drugs itself becomes tautologically entwined with the reasons they are illegal. It is becoming more difficult to diffuse as our culture leans to polarity on drug issues.


Ever heard of coffee destroying families or someone’s career? Yeah, me neither.

If that's the criteria then we still have an inconsistency: tobacco and alcohol should be banned. The alternative is to be consistent in the other direction (which to some that are after "freedom" sounds more appropriate).

Precisely. Anyone who stands up for alcohol while putting down cocaine or cannabis is fooling themselves and refusing to see truth.

Yeah, there's a logical inconsistency. So what? Just because our society has so far failed to ban two addictive, harmful drugs, does not mean we must legalize every other addictive, harmful drug.

I see it differently: despite alcohol having absolutely horrible safety profile the vast majority of people manage to use it responsibly and don't let it ruin their lives. We all know that some people become alcoholics and yet it stops virtually nobody from enjoying Friday beer.

The drug prohibition made it difficult to know how many people use drugs responsibly. It is linked to legal weed actually: it is being legalized not because research showed it is not too dangerous (we knew it for a while), but because more and more people become aware that you can totally use weed and remain a respectable member of society.

For me it is a question of personal freedom. Everything has risks. Going hiking in mountains can kill you, for example, or almost any outdoor activity really. And some people die there pretty much every day. But I really don't want the state banning it just because some people fuck up.


To me, there is obviously a tension between the right of individuals to take calculated risks and the responsibility of the society to protect its members from harm. I don't think it's reasonable to say that individuals have an absolute right to take any risks they please, irrespective of the wishes of their society, because the society will end up bailing them out when the outcomes of their risky behavior get bad enough. Mountain-claimbing is actually a great example: if you get yourself caught in a ravine, there are crews of highly trained, well-equipped rangers who will fly in and spend enormous sums of money, as well as put their own lives in danger, to save your life. All this despite the fact that the risk was taken without consulting them at all. Because of this, mountain rangers have every right to mark certain dangerous trails closed to the public. It is a reasonable infringement on personal liberty, given that they're on the hook for other people's risky decisions.

How about sugar? Sure it seems innocuous enough, but some people get effectively addicted to it, developing diseases and conditions that can prevent them from working their chosen profession or die and "destroy" their family unit.

Have I heard about diabetics refusing to change their diets and dying, yes.

Does that mean we should outlaw sugar? Probably not, plenty of people struggle with obesity and sugar is a major contributing factor, but there's plenty of responsible adults that can consume sugar in moderation.

I also imagine there are a non-zero number of people that begin using more pure forms of caffeine in ways that are damaging to their relationships, health, and careers.


One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Shouldn’t punish the entire world for a subset of people who are incapable of being responsible.

It does if you keep banging your barista

I want to agree but my area is rather "methy" and contributes so much to crime and bad behavior. In an ideal world people would be able to do whatever they want as long as they don't bother anyone else. Unfortunately it is a daily occurrence around here of meth addicts breaking into peoples yards and houses trying to steal stuff, aggressive behavior etc.

But meth is already illegal, and your neighborhood is still in that situation. That sounds awful, but not really like a reason for sticking with the current policy.

In fact most of the crime around it would be a result of it being illegal. High prices, marginalisation etc.

Not saying we should legalise meth as it seems to be one of the nastier drugs around. But the war on drugs does seem to create problems itself. By moving the drugs into the criminal zone you're creating a lot of crime around it. It's not the right way IMO. For example supplying unrecoverable addicts with seized drugs stops them from having to steal. It was a success in Europe.

It's kinda ironic that this policy comes from the US which learned a valuable lesson during its prohibition period.


- Long term health risks (normal use as well as abuse)

- Short term health risks (ease of overdose)

- Level of addiction

using those three metrics, there are some very large differences between cocaine, THC, tobacco, caffeine, alcohol, and say, heroin.


Peak hackernews hot takes right here folks

No difference? Seriously? I have never heard of someone destroying their life over a coffee addiction

It is quite uncommon and usually doesn't devolves into a life destroying situation but it exist :

   The first published report of caffeinism — essentially an anxiety disorder based on chronic high caffeine consumption — appeared in 1967 and described the case of a woman thought to have an anxiety disorder until it was determined that she was consuming 15 to 18 cups of brewed coffee per day. She showed rapid improvement when her caffeine intake was drastically reduced.
https://www.pharmacologicalsciences.us/caffeine/ccaffeinism....

I will say that I didn't read the directions on some new freeze dried instant coffee I got and was accidentally brewing 2x the recommended concentration and felt like I was losing my mind for months until I figured it out.

I didn't start drinking coffee until well into my 20s, just never developed a taste for it.

One day after I had started drinking coffee a friend wanted to go to Starbucks. They were excited that I finally started drinking coffee and we could go for a walk and grab a cup. I had heard Starbucks was pretty awful coffee but the coffee was a side point, so I went and got a cup of coffee.

I was wildly caffeinated the rest of the day. My brain had made an incorrect association that "awful coffee" == "weak coffee" so I got the largest one because I was a bit tired. That was WAY TOO MUCH caffeine, a Venti coffee at Starbucks has 225mg of caffeine and the standard cup I was brewing at home / in the office was closer to 90mg.

That was a difficult afternoon at work, unable to sit still, agitated, but I learned a good lesson. Starbucks didn't get rich from flavor, they did it the old fashioned way, massive quantities of addictive substances, caffeine and sugar.


They're all drugs, sure, no shit. But there definitely is a difference. Much like how there is a difference between antibiotics and NSAIDs.

What about antibiotics?

Doug Demuro famously pointed out that the Lamborghini Jalpa had fully removable vanity mirrors in the 1980s

I’m sure this has some relevance but it’s gone over my head, could you explain?

Easier to do coke off it when you can hold it near your face.

I went and watched it and it was actually the Countach that had that

I thought widespread cocaine usage in the 70s was just a joke.

Turns out it was actually a thing.


The 70s were crazy in more ways than one.

“People have completely forgotten that in 1972 we had over nineteen hundred domestic bombings in the United States.” — Max Noel, FBI (ret.)

https://status451.com/2017/01/20/days-of-rage/


I read your article, and it seems like the primary thesis is that large institutions (primarily universities) act as a sheltering mechanism for leftist radicals who promote violent social change.

I’m not assuming you wrote the article, but I want to ask to try to gain insight. If this is true, why is it that business institutions, that have a lot to lose from social upheavals, require 4-year degrees for professional positions, from these leftist institutions?


Possibly as a hold over from a time when a degree carried more weight.

Because those institutions have changed a whole lot.

The Birth of a New American Aristocracy: https://outline.com/4BXcWS


I read THAT article, and found that it neither affirms, nor refutes the claim that universities shelter violent revolutionaries.

The thing it says about education is that it’s harder to get into a college now than before. That is a change, but it can occur with or without also acting as a retirement home for “the shock troops” that was mentioned in GPs article.


Business institutions are hiring kids who majored in business and don't look like hippies.

That's a fun article but also so ridiculously, obviously biased that it's difficult to take the details seriously. The author really does the subject a disservice because of that, although at least the are being open about their bias.Because it really is an interesting part of US history. And although I'm not that old and I already knew about most of it, minus some interesting details, like supporting the murder of Sharon Tate, I would imagine he is right when he points out that a lot of people do not remember or know of this history. Especially considering how dangerous people think our society is nowadays.

I had never heard anything about the Puerto Rican separatists though. That's some crazy. Thanks a bunch for the link! The supposed analysis at the end is absurd though and can be effectively skipped. The author does not understand anything about the institutions that hold power now, along with a whole lot else.


Which perfectly coincides with this:

https://wtfhappenedin1971.com


Wow, what exactly happened then? Is there anymore I could read about it?

Arbitrary knees in exponentially-growing metrics lined up with the introduction of fiat currency due to carefully chosen Y-axis scales by someone who makes money when you invest in Bitcoin.

(Some of those graphs -- especially the first one -- probably have interesting stories behind them, which may or may not relate to fiat currency. But all we get from that page is a Hayek quote structured to suggest he too would love Bitcoin so...)


Well, Hayek did write a whole book in favor of private currencies... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Denationalization_of_Money

Fair enough.

I highly recommend this video, it's long but well worth explaining what happened here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gEz__sMVaY&t=33s



US moved to fiat money and they started inflating us all to hell

Hadn't read this before, thank you. Mind blown. It's the missing articulation of why some of this stuff today is so serious.

The first half reads like it would be an amazing epic series, if it were written from the perspective of the complex anti-hero protagonists. I knew about Tupac's family link, and one of my high school teachers was among the white feminist women who were a part of the black liberation movement and told us stories about it, but to write about it as a history of before hiphop, before gangs, and before blacksploitation, after civil rights, this shit was real.

The second half about the mechanisms of right/left conflict is spot on, and describes undercurrents today very well.


That was a wild read. I want more articles in this style.

I've always been fascinated by the depiction of the 70's in media: an era of excess and debauchery. the linked article (thanks!) reinforces the notion "truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; truth isn't." Each rabbit hole feels more bewildering than the former.

In more industries than not, it's still a thing. There is a lot of companies (that I've worked with at least) where coke usage is still happening at relaxed events, especially when it's a "management-only" event.

Software development? Or other industries?

As a software consultant for many different industries, from materials, real estate, industrials, fashion and everything in-between. Usage seems the same across all of them.

It’s very much alive, the war on drugs is a racket.

A friend sold car stereos in the 80s, he would get tips in coke. He was paid a lot to cut a early projection tv in half so it could fit in his airplane and be taken back to South America.


Was? It's almost on the job description of a banking manager...

I don't think I understood the extent until I watched a Studio 54 documentary - iconic, super popular NYC nightclub where everyone did loads of cocaine out in the open all night.

The cocaine culture and the disco culture were very much intertwined. Maybe it was not as much in the open as at Studio 54, but it wasn't limited to just NYC.

Heh, you should check out London in 2021.

It was a thing.

It still is, too.


I get that same feeling now when people casually mention cannabis use.

The history of cannabis use is orders of magnitudes longer than the history of cocaine use.

> The history of cannabis use is orders of magnitudes longer than the history of cocaine use.

Not unless you narrowly restrict the latter to refined cocaine, while not restricting the former to (say) refined THC.

The history of cannabis use is not orders of magnitude longer than the history of coca leaf use.


Definitely not comparing to coca leaf use. To your point though, refined THC in the form of hashish has a much longer history than refined coca leaves. As has breeding for more THC.

Hashish does not actually have to be "refined" at all. There's zero chemical process involved. You're just taking the resin glands off the surface of the plant. Refining cocaine is starkly different from this, of course.

Not sure about magnitude. Well, maybe Cocaine yeah magnitude, but when it comes to Coca, I'm pretty sure tribes in South America have been using them for as long as people been using Cannabis. At the very least, the Incas were using Coca back in the day.

My dad [0] was a technology columnist in from the 80s to mid 00s, and related this story:

Ken worked for what was then a first-tier Japanese hifi company. At the time -- it was the eighties -- companies exhibiting at CES gave shit away. Shirts, pens, calculators... you know: trade show crap. Rather than have his giveaway get lost in that sea of crap, my friend decided to give out pocket-sized mirrors, each encased in a blue silicon sleeve emblazoned with the company logo. His Japanese masters said "Ken-san, why you give away small mirror. We don't understand." And Ken-san said "trust me, they'll love it." And they did, because a) it was the eighties, and 2) while some preparatory activities are best done on a cardboard record jacket, others require an unyielding surface. I should add that the notion of including a single-edge razor blade in the package crossed his mind, but was rejected as being too on-the-nose.

[0] https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/04/how-m...


Too "on the nose" indeed ;)

My Dad invented one of the products advertised in these. Imagine my surprise the first time I saw a collection like this pop up.

Of course, you can still buy drug paraphernalia. For example there are plastic Roses in a glass vase sold at gas stations that are really crack pipes. And there are lots of shady "tobacco shops" out there.

Some of these products seem pretty nice, I'd buy a couple of them if I did cocaine.


> While traditionally cocaine was a rich man’s drug (due to the large expense of a cocaine habit), by the late 1980s, cocaine was no longer thought of as the drug of choice for the wealthy.

This phrasing seems to suggest that something else displaced cocaine as "the drug of choice for the wealthy."

If something did, what was it?

And if nothing did — i.e. if young-rich-people parties just shifted away from being drug-fueled — then what caused that? Because that feels like a very surprising shift; drug-fueled parties were a staple of decadent wealth for hundreds of years as of that point. I wouldn't expect that a single drug losing its perception of "classiness" would lead to a wholesale abandonment of drug use by an entire class of people.


Coke never went away but the quality went down substantially, not aided by the fact that it's all produced in the jungle under some guys plastic boots who just eyeballs the reagents used to make the end product. So you'll never get "pure" stuff like you would meth or mdma.

In his bio Keith Richards says he quit all that stuff when the quality when down. All those 80s bands that were fueled by coke ... you don't get that anymore. Basically because it's not that "nice" of a drug anymore.

In S-America from what I've heard is that all the posh party people take mdma to go out and coke is more for the low to middle class. So it's definitely less classy there, probably not in the least because of all the horrible crime associated with it (something that's out of sight for Westerners).


If something replaced cocaine, my guess would be pills, both repurposed medical grade ones and things like ecstasy. Being completely manufactured allows for an arbitrary distinction in quality based on packaging, and that's obviously something people like to buy into.

That said, I'm not sure I believe cocaine ever lost favor with the wealthy. Maybe they just shifted from open semi-public use to more private and small groups doing it within the whole? Instead of open use in the big common room, maybe people just split off into side rooms in small groups that are interested to do it and rejoin the main group later.


I remember learning this fun fact from a Netflix documentary. Nominal prices for coke have remained stable since the 70s. So adjusted for inflation, it's gotten progressively less expensive. I've witnessed 5his personally. A gram in the 2000s would run about 70 bucks in my area, and that's still the case today.

So it's likely that over time more and more not so rich people entered the market and coke lost its cachet. But I'm sure the rich remained quite fond of it.


I take it to mean that the primary cultural association with cocaine was no longer “rich person drug,” while not saying anything at all about the drug of choice for the wealthy.

I also share this doubt, however I can believe that people who are wealthy but not wall street types, have moved on to pills like MDMA etc.

There's a difference between wealthy-wealthy and wealthy-enough to retire early and live like a 19-year-old until they "retire" properly: The latter category I would imagine is not the kind to do Coke on holiday versus some pills.


Cocaine never really went away.

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