In Brief

Cocaine users with a 'social conscience' targeted in campaign

National Crime Agency video warns of the drug's impact – but critics argue regulation would counter this

Recreational cocaine users are being targeted by a new police campaign that examines the social and environmental impact of the drug.

The National Crime Agency's video highlights the destruction, violence and exploitation caused by the production and sale of the drug, from the jungles of Colombia to the streets of the UK. 

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"Recreational users, who perhaps care about the exploitation of workers in sweatshops or environmental abuses, often have no idea of the damage funded by their occasional line," said the agency's Tony Saggers.

He said it was "hypocritical" for people who claim to care about important social issues to see no problem in regularly using the Class A drug.

"People sit there at dinner parties and discuss what they find abhorrent in the world and then they make a choice to consume something generating huge exploitation," he told the Daily Mail.

Earlier this year it was revealed that the number of cocaine users in the UK had more than trebled in the last two decades.

Experts warn that the drug is no longer just considered a party drug for the wealthy, but is firmly entrenched in all parts of British society.

The NCA's campaign was created in collaboration with law enforcement official in Colombia, the world's top producer of cocaine.

"We see criminal activities due to drug trafficking such as killings, extortion, theft, money laundering and smuggling," Ricardo Alberto Restrepo, from the country's anti-narcotics police,  told the BBC.

"Each pound spent to buy drugs in the UK is money which will be used to buy firearms, which will kill policemen and women as well as other victims linked to drug trafficking."

But some were quick to suggest that state regulation of the drug would eliminate these problems.

"It's not drug use that causes violence; it's drug prohibition," tweeted Johann Hari, a British journalist and author of a best-selling book on the war on drugs. "Ask yourself - where are the violent alcohol dealers today?"

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