Showing posts with label cocaine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cocaine. Show all posts

Thursday, May 19, 2011

An Amazon drug for the poor

There’s often a fine line between using drugs for enjoyment and using drugs to escape the pressures of society. While the drugs "problem" is not a make or break issue for socialists, it does illustrate how capitalism tends to operate in defiance of any logic, even its own. Even if you accept capitalism's own profit-oriented logic, its attitude to illegal recreational drugs still fails to make any kind of sense. From Al Capone to Afghanistan, the history of drug prohibition by capitalism continues to represent one of the most bizarrely stupid aspects of a social system never notable for its good judgment. Most of the arguments against illicit drugs are bogus, unscientific and politically oriented. Whether it’s a pint in a pub, a joint at home, or ecstasy in a nightclub, many of us use drugs to unwind or enhance our experiences. However, heroin and alcohol addiction are causing countless damaged lives. Now there is a new one.

Officials in the Amazon region of Brazil first started hearing drug users refer to Oxi in about 2005 but had probably been used as early as the late 1980s, likely being mistaken for crack cocaine. It first appeared in the tiny northwestern Brazilian state of Acre. With a population of only 732,000, Acre borders both Bolivia and Peru - two of the largest producers that import freebase cocaine paste into Brazil. Oxi is not a particularly unique drug. It is a derivative of cocaine paste, the clay-like foundation product used to make crack and refined powder cocaine. To make Oxi, chunks of freebase cocaine are soaked in gasoline. When gasoline is not available, kerosene is sometimes used. It is then mixed with limestone powder, a product used in construction. Easily attainable household solvents, like cleaning chemicals, are also sometimes added to the toxic mixture. In the final process, the rocks are dried, often simply under the sun, and then sold on the streets for consumption. According to police, with cocaine paste as the main ingredient, Oxi can be made very easily and cheaply without the need for a background in chemistry - unlike refined powder cocaine, which needs the infrastructure of a laboratory to produce, and is much more time-consuming and complicated.Because it is cheap, Oxi was initially used primarily by people from lower economic classes, the drug is often called "an Amazon drug for the poor". The average price for one rock being five Brazilian reals, which is the equivalent of about three American dollars. Sometimes, a rock of Oxi can sell for as cheap as one American dollar. The difference between Oxi and crack is that crack usually has about 40 or 50 per cent purity, but based on studies of what has been confiscated, Oxi is being made from freebase cocaine that has 80 to 90 per cent purity. It's stronger and the effects of addiction faster, and consequently it is considered a better drug by the users. The immediate effect after smoking it lasts only three to five minutes, so most users say they are always looking to get their next hit. A user can normally get five inhales on one rock, extending the total buzz from one rock to roughly 20 to 30 minutes, depending on how experienced the user is and how long the smoke is kept in their lungs. Regardless of the prowess of the user, the effects do not last long, and leave the victim searching for another hit soon after they finish. Oxi ravages internal organs, causes severe weight loss and critical brain damage. But it is highly addicting; most users who try it get hooked in the first try.
Alvaro Mendes, a researcher who helped conduct the first study of Oxi back in 2005, told Al Jazeera "In the 15 years I have been working with chemical dependency, I have never seen a drug with such a potential of destruction as Oxi.When a person starts using Oxi, on average they die within one year"

Substance abuse will last as long as capitalism itself does as people feel the stress of coping with life under the profit system. People are becoming isolated from each other with drug abuse on the increase. Will drugs be as big a menace in socialism? The problem of illegal drugs might not be so easy to solve. One prime factor, however, would immediately disappear in a socialist system – the monetary incentive to produce such drugs. We believe that socialism would fill up the gaps in people's lives making it less likely (if not completely unlikely) that they would turn to drugs to fill an empty life or escape from an intolerable one. In a socialist society, many of the causes of the drug problem will not exist and have been eradicated—the chronic alienation, isolation and loneliness created by capitalist conditions of life, plus social deprivation, poverty and dissatisfaction . Once these factors are removed, the symptoms they produce will disappear along with them. One thing is for sure that there is no solution within capitalism.

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