Home' Scoop : Scoop 53 Spring 2010 Contents scoop SPRING 2010 75
here’s this bloke who went to work
for a company in the Perth finance
industry. The job was excellent, the
money great, the clients g ood and
he loved the excitement in the office.
But it didn’t take long to discover that the company
buzz was fuelled by more than successful deals...
It’s an apocryphal tale but without doubt
Perth is becoming a high-pressure, high-paying
and hard-partying place to live and work. And,
where you g et money and prestige, you get cocaine.
As one source says, “The 80s way of doing
business is coming back.”
Perth – known as the home of ecstacy and
methamphetamine (ice) – is sniffing around for
something with a little more cachet. WA police
know for sure that they are seeing more cocaine.
“Ten years ag o, a lot less people had access
to consume cocaine, today more people are
seeing a lot more coke around and people want
it,” Detective Inspector Alan Morton from the
Organised Crime Squad says. “The drug dealers
are being asked for it.”
In 2008-9 there were the most cocaine arrests
in Australia for a decade. Around 3kg of cocaine
was picked up in WA and this year there have
been several seizures – totalling about 1.5kg – at
suburban Perth properties. Just as Scoop went to
press in August, a 34-year-old man was arrested at
his Adelaide Terrace home for trying to import 6kg
of cocaine (worth $2.1m) from Arizona. Another
bust in Melbourne in July netted 240kg of coke
(with a street value of $84 million).
Cocaine’s glamour may be due to the way it is
usually taken, by insufflation – snorting it as a fine
powder – which means there’s no nasty association
with needles. It could be the cost – at about $350
an ounce, only people with money to blow could
take this over cheaper drugs. Or perhaps it is coke’s
particular effect – it changes the way dopamine is
processed in the brain, causing intense feelings of
pleasure and relaxation, as well as super-confidence.
“It’s a mellow drug that doesn’t put you out of
it but sort of makes you hyper-clued-in,” explains
one occasional user. “You are more capable of
dealing with things.
“Whereas dope makes you just want to go
down south and hide out, coke g ets you out on
the town, talking to people,” he says.
It’s the drug of choice for rock stars and movie
celebrities and has long been associated with the
high-flyers in high-pressure, high-reward industries
such as broking and banking. Tales of excess
from Wall Street and the City of London have
become the stuff of legend, but Melbourne and
Sydney have also had their share of high-profile
businessmen and lawyers whose lives have spiralled
out of control on cocaine.
Neuroscientists say it is no surprise that trading
and cocaine g o together. Both involve taking
risks, and dopamine levels surge when we attempt
things like g oing sky diving, betting on stock
price movements or hiding in an office toilet and
snorting a line of coke.
People who take risks also have low levels of
dopamine receptors and therefore try to shock the
brain into a boost of the chemical through new
situations. Coked-up London bankers also report
that they got accustomed to a certain level of
Movie stars and rock singers have sparkled on it, Wall Street
bankers have traded on it. Is it the turn of Perth’s high-stakes
traders and partygoers to jump on the cocaine coach?
words Danielle Benda
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