Four people pile into a bathroom. Next, a set of keys jingles. After that, the sound of a toilet flush floats above somebody with a bad case of the sniffles. The ritual repeats four times. Ten minutes later, they come outside, wiping their keys off, their fists clenched, everybody speaking like Amtrak trains. One by one, wide-eyed, they clear their noses.
Two club-goers crouch down in the middle of a nightclub. For a second, their hands hold little piles of snow. Like magicians, they make them disappear. They stand up again, head on a swivel, their hearts at-risk for a speeding ticket.
A Canadian pole-vaulter tests positive for cocaine before the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Scenes like this are becoming more and more accepted at house parties, clubs and apparently pole-vaulting gyms across the country.
A 2013 Statistics Canada report noted coke as the “second most common type of drug offence” reported to the police and has stayed that way for over the last two decades.
That’s a concern. Cocaine isn’t big glasses, gold jewellery, black Mercedes Benz coupes and palm trees, anymore. It’s fentanyl, overdoses and destruction and nobody’s the wiser.
It starts out as a weekend thing. Friends start to get together on weekends, have a few beers and do a little bit of blow. It starts trickling into weekdays, then work days, then every day. Before the problem’s recognized, it’s too late. One is too many and a thousand is never enough.
Although the use and distribution of cocaine has remained the same, using the drug is becoming normalized, through movies and music alike.
In 2015, electronic music producers Feed Me and Kill The Noise released “I Do Coke,” a ballad to using cocaine to work longer, to in turn earn more money, to use to buy more blow. To date, the song has nearly 2.5 million listens on SoundCloud.
Later that year, Canadian R&B powerhouse, The Weeknd, released “Can’t Feel My Face,” another song about coke use. It won three Juno awards.
Beyond these two, there are countless artists like A$AP Ferg, Nav, and Danny Brown that wear their drug habits on their sleeve.
As these performers ascend to stardom, ankles chained to cocaine, they drag blow out of the realm of taboo and into the limelight alongside them.
Whether people admit it or not, those artists have an influence on the behavior of listeners of all ages. When Tyler, the Creator started wearing Supreme five-panels, a horde of mini-Tylers trailed behind him. When Kanye started dressing like he was homeless, a new breed of hipster was born. Follow the leader.
Although users’ coke use varies, whether it be a week-long binge or a few bumps on the weekend, one sentiment rings true–with an increasing amount of cocaine being cut with fentanyl, a prescription opioid that’s a hundred times more potent than heroin, doing coke is more dangerous than ever. Nobody knows what’s in their bag, nowadays.