Cocaine addiction has been an ever present problem in Western society throughout the 5 decades since it became widely available. While drugs like ecstasy, methamphetamine, and heroin grab the headlines for years at a time, our treatment center has constantly been deluged by men and women who need help with their primary drug of choice – cocaine.
Cocaine is Extremely Popular in the U.K. and Europe
The excellent Vanguard documentary which traces the cocaine route from South America into Europe starts out by documenting the fact that the drug is more popular than ever in in Europe and in the U.K. especially.
The average price of a gram of cocaine has dropped in half from 60 to 30 pounds. People who are in the clubs and bars report that it is widely being used and by working class people as well as urban socialites.
The problem with casual cocaine use that is done innocently in bars and pubs is that the drug is extremely addictive and sneaks up on people who use it innocently.
Europe is consuming 146 tons of coke a year.
With such a high rate of consumption there is a multi billion dollar industry that has sprung up around the drugs creation and transportation.
The drug industry in South America has found a new route into Europe through West Africa into European entry points like Casa Valturno in Italy.
The nations along West Africa are some of the poorest and most corrupt countries in the world. The havoc this industry has wreaked on these areas is devastating. The corruption that allows the Cocaine mafia to take advantage of helpless and poor West Africans who are desperate for work and food has destroyed families and lives.
Italian Entry Point
Christof Putzol, who is the journalist that narrates the Vanguard documentary , takes a film crew to the Southern Italian town of Casa Valturno. Casa Valturno is 20 miles north of Naples and has allegedly become one of the largest cocaine trafficking hubs for Europe.
Once a tourist destination with resort like hotels and beaches, there is nothing left in this town but decay and blight. The town has been populated by immigrants who come to it from West Africa to find a better life but are unable to find work or anything to eat. The immigrants situation is dire. They fled West Africa for a better life and can’t make ends meet – making them an easy mark for the predatory Cocaine Mafia which rules the lawless town.
Cocaine Mafia – “The Comorra”
The local mafia is known as “The Camorra” and has traditionally controlled the transport of cocaine from West Africa and into Europe. The poor African immigrants are all too willing to work with theComorra and take the risk of transporting the drug for a hefty payday.
Drug use in Casa Valturno
Of course cocaine addiction in he local area has been a side effect of the drug trade in Casa Valturno. The Vanguard news team took a camera crew to a run down hotel (once a luxurious resort) which is inhabitated now as a crack house by people who’ve become victims of the drugs they sell. The hotel is in shocking disrepair and has become nothing more than a squat for cocaine addicted men and women. There are few resources for these men and women to receive treatment for cocaine addiction.
There is an interview with an inhabitant discusses the seemingly hopeless situation of trying to find legitimate work after immigrating from Ghana but succumbing to the temptations of selling and transporting cocaine and eventually becoming dependent on it.
Another man in the “hotel turned crack den” talks about his time working as a mule and swallowing balls of cocaine before boarding a plane into Italy. This process he says he’s done 11 times.
Italy’s Seemingly Helpless Drug Authorities
We are introduced to Piero Grasso who is Italy’s top anti Mafia prosecutor. He discsuses in problem of trying to stop an epidemic that creates so much wealth for those who are perpertrating it. There are warehouses of he cocaine housed in Nigeria where they pay people to swallow the drug and will put up to 40 couriers (or “mules”) on a flight into Italy from West Africa. The authorities might apprehend 1 or 2 out of 40. It is a numbers game.
Next we are introduced to one of the doctors who is in charge of x-raying men and women who are suspected of being mules transporting the cocaine. The doctor shows some of the xrays which illuminate the packages of cocaine hidden inside the mule’s bodies, and explains that the container of cocaine ruptuerrs in the mules’ body has only seconds to survive.
Nigerians Rise in the Cocaine Drug Trade
The Nigerians criminal drug lords are becoming more prominent in running the transport of cocaine and are slowly but surely taking over the drug trade from the Comorra. The Nigeraian crime syndicate also has created a huge postitution ring in Europe where they lure women lure women with the promise of good jobs and when they arrive turn them into indentured servants who prostitute their bodies to repay the “transport fee.”
The Nigerian crime syndicates has Casa Valturna their headquarters and controls their underlings with violence and intimidation.
Comorra and Nigerians at War
Inevitably, there is a rising war between the Comorra and Nigerian Cocaine Mafias. Recently there was a gruesome massacre during which Comorra gunmen gunned down 6 immigrants at night in a West African owned tailor shop. The commonly accepted reason for the massacre was that it was a message from the Comorra to the West Africans that they are overstepping their boundaries in the cocaine transport industry.
Casa Valturna witnessed riots by West Africans that broke out after the shooting. The West African sentiment was that the people who were killed weren’t drug dealers and they wanted justice.
We will keep an eye on the news and report any new developments on the cocaine trade into Europe via West Africa.