‘Pink Cocaine’ on a Rise in Europe
The Europe is facing a rise in the consumption of ‘pink cocaine’, among the drug users. The drug is native to Colombia when it first came in the market as a street drug in 2010. Now, the drug has become synonymous with a new generation of young narcos who are making and selling the drug for use in the country’s late-night club scenes and seedy tourist sex trade.
In contrast of the name ‘pink cocaine’, the drug does not contain any cocaine. Instead it is a mish-mash mixture of ketamine, MDMA (3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine) and pink food colouring agent.
The drug is dyed with a pink food colour agent to make it stand out from other powders and usually smelling of strawberry.
Among the users ‘pink cocaine’ is popular by the name “tusi” (pronounced as 2C) because earlier it used to contain the psychedelic drug 2CB (4-Bromo-2,5-dimethoxyphenethylamine).
The forensic examination of the drug has shown that it is always morphed into an unpredictable mixture, most often containing varying proportions of ketamine and MDMA, bulked out with caffeine.
It has been told by the scientists that since this drug is prepared in the DIY kitchens, so there are a number of variations in the components of the ‘pink cocaine’. Some concoction contain benzos, meth and cathinones, while some are rumored to contain fentanyl also. However the involvement of fentanyl is not still proved.
Past week, the Spanish police busted seven members of a gang who were alleged to have been involved with distributing cocaine and “tusi” in Madrid and Malaga after smuggling it in drug-filled suitcases by air from Latin America.
The police recovered around 8 kilos of “pink cocaine,” as well as regular cocaine and cash from the accused’s houses.
The United nations published a report this week on the rise of the illegal ketamine trade, which states that during the current running year tusi has been spotted at a music festival in the UK, and also in Austria and Switzerland.
Julian Quintero explains that this drug is connected to the neo-drug trafficker culture in Colombia. Julian is a sociologist and researcher at Social Technical Action, a Colombian drug policy NGO.
He said that that the drug trade is not in the hands of the adult patrons now, instead the young people are leading this who have learned the procedure of making the drug at home.
He added with the help of tusi, neo-drug trafficker culture has “taken the monopoly of money and beautiful women away from the cocaine traffickers”.
He also said that tusi is the most popular drug of choice for foreigners who enter the sex trade in Medellin and Cartagena.
In fact it is the fifth most popular drug in Colombia and is a regular on the narcotic menu in countries such as Argentina, Venezuela, Uruguay, Chile and Panama.
As Spain has the closest links with Colombia, so it is not surprising that the use of tusi is increasing in Spain. The drug has been identified in Spain since 2011, and one of the first major busts was in 2016, when nine people including some Colombians were arrested for operating a tusi lab just outside Madrid.
In 2019, a drug harm reduction NGO-Energy Control, which tests drugs sent in by the public, received only a handful of drug samples it identified as tusi, but in the last three years it has received 150.
Claudio Vidal, a director at Energy Control said it was believed earlier that pink cocaine is an elite drug consumed by the rich family members but it is being used by people from every level.
Initially, it was found mainly in big cities like Madrid or Barcelona, or touristic locations like Ibiza, Costa del Sol, today it has spread to other European cities.