Newsbrief: London Top Cop Warns He Will Target Casual Cocaine Users 2/4/05

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London's new top police official, Sir Ian Blair, took over as Metropolitan Police Commissioner Tuesday and wasted no time in announcing a war on casual cocaine users in the city. In recent years, as prices have declined, cocaine use has been on the rise in England and encompasses all social strata, from poor, minority crack smokers to upper class weekend powder-sniffers. As far as Blair is concerned, the situation is out of hand and he is ready to make examples, the newspaper the Scotsman reported.

There are people in London who think it is "socially acceptable" to enjoy "a wrap of Charlie" at dinner parties or during a night out clubbing, Blair complained. But while they may believe they are indulging in a "harm-free" pleasure, he said, their habit is wreaking havoc from the streets of London to the coca fields of the Andes.

"I think there are a group of people in the capital who believe that they are in some way taking harm-free cocaine," said Sir Ian. "I'm not interested in what harm it is doing to them personally, but the price of that cocaine is misery on the streets of London's estates and blood on the roads to Colombia and Afghanistan."

While much attention has been paid in England to crime and violence associated with the crack cocaine use of the poor and the wrong-colored, Blair appeared to be sending a warning that British high society will not be immune from the law. "There are no areas of the capital which are exempt from the law on drugs," he said. "I am clear that there are some who think their weekend's wrap of charlie is entirely harm-free, but it may not be entirely harm-free for much longer. The tests on cocaine on the toilet seats of various clubs will tell you an awful lot of cocaine is going on in the centre of London that people think is exempt from policing," he said.

"People think it is OK but I do not think it is OK to use cocaine. We will have to do something about it by making a few examples of people so that they understand," Blair ominously pronounced. "I am concerned that it is becoming socially acceptable. People are having dinner parties where they drink less wine and snort more cocaine."

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Issue #373 -- 2/4/05

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