Home' Scoop : Scoop 54 Summer 2010 Contents And young people don’t have to be on drugs to feel the devastating effects. “Many domestic violence
situations are related to alcohol and drugs. Children and adolescents are often exposed to violence, which
leads to family breakdown and physical morbidity,” Danny Shub explains. When all role models are g one,
kids will look elsewhere for inspiration.
THE NOT-SO GLAMOROUS UNDERBELLY
‘Taboo’ is an invitation, especially in youth. Detective Inspector Alan Morton, from Perth’s Organised
Crime Squad, sees the dark side of the glamorisation of drugs on a daily basis. “Many young people make
the mistake of romanticising criminal behaviour,” he says. “They get involved with hardened criminals
without realising the consequences. These people (criminals) get naïve youths to sell drugs for them.
When the kids are caught, they are charged and the drugs are confiscated, but the thugs and criminals still
expect to get their money. The young people then end up in a world of trouble.”
Inspector Morton stresses that these situations are not restricted to a particular demographic within
society. “A lot of people who get into trouble come from normal, loving homes. They are not, by nature,
bad people. They simply make appalling choices.”
He offers an example. “A young fellow from the western suburbs of Perth decides to dabble in
cocaine with his mates from the local sports club. They have a bit of fun and decide to do it again. This
time the young bloke decides to buy a bit more; after all, the more you buy, the less it costs. He plans
to sell it to his friends. Then he is caught by the police. Because of the amount involved, he will not be
charged with possession, he will be charged with trafficking. He will go to jail, lose his job, his assets, all
prospects for a future career and will carry the stigma of being a convicted drug dealer for the rest of his
life. The law is not lenient just because you come from a g ood home.”
But what would Inspector Morton know? After all, drugs can be fun, right? And the funniest drug of all
is cocaine. Sure, it’s expensive, but so what. You work hard and deser ve a little extra-cur ricular fun on the
weekend. When you take cocaine it is a victimless crime, a har mless social activity with no consequences.
Okay, we’ve got that settled. So, how do you find it and where does it come from? Let’s examine.
Almost all cocaine comes from South America, and almost all South American cocaine comes from
Columbia, Bolivia or Peru. It is here, in these dirt-poor countries, that we find the wondrous coca plant,
which has been used a medicant for centuries. The leaves of the coca plant are har vested and dried by
indigenous farmers who are paid as much as $20 a week for their efforts. The local drug lords expect a
little more for their money, so the farmer’s children are also expected to work the fields, all day every day,
from dawn till dusk. If they don’t, they are killed.
The coca leaves are processed through an extraordinarily poisonous mix of gasoline, battery acid and
caustic soda. The resulting murky sludge is filtered through a cloth to produce cocaine pasta, which is
transported to hidden laboratories where various solvents are used to extract precious crystalline cocaine.
Now the fun begins. Organised criminal g angs transport the crystalline cocaine to the borders.
Actually, the criminal masterminds don’t do much of the transporting. After all, it is illegal. Unemployed
locals are often forced to ‘run’ the cocaine. If they are caught by bandits or authorities, they will be killed.
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