‘Grind the cocaine well’ – Spanish drug pamphlet sparks outrage

Zaragoza authorities under fire for including consumption advice in document

“In order to make a sniffing tube that does not damage the nostrils it is best to use rolled-up paper or cardboard rather than piping or other hard material,” the pamphlet advises.   Photograph: iStock

“In order to make a sniffing tube that does not damage the nostrils it is best to use rolled-up paper or cardboard rather than piping or other hard material,” the pamphlet advises. Photograph: iStock

 

Local authorities in the Spanish city of Zaragoza are under fire for publishing a document on drug use that offers readers tips on how best to take cocaine, amphetamines and other illegal substances.

“In general it’s recommended that lines of speed should be shorter than those of cocaine, because amphetamines are more potent at the equivalent weight,” says the text, published by city hall.

Titled Drugs: the world, the neighbourhood – pamphlet of information and debate from the city centre, the 31-page document offers separate chapters on different substances, including cocaine, cannabis, alcohol and tobacco, explaining their composition and properties, as well as effects on users, legislation surrounding them and advice on consumption.

Grinding up the cocaine well [squashing the crystals properly before inhalation] reduces the risk of bleeding or ulcerations on the inside of the nose

The section on cocaine, for example, includes some hands-on advice for users.

“In order to make a sniffing tube that does not damage the nostrils it is best to use rolled-up paper or cardboard rather than piping or other hard material,” the pamphlet says. “Grinding up the cocaine well [squashing the crystals properly before inhalation] reduces the risk of bleeding or ulcerations on the inside of the nose.”

Laboratory analysis

The document has been backed by Consumo ConCiencia, an organisation that promotes information about drug use through courses and other events as well as offering drug users a laboratory analysis of the substance they plan to consume. The guide’s introduction states that “there is no such thing as a world without drugs; instead there is the option of being well informed, conscious and having the right laws”.

But Zaragoza city hall, which is governed by a coalition linked to leftist party Podemos, has faced fierce criticism in the wake of the document’s appearance.

It’s not about the damage you might do to your nose – what they don’t say is that cocaine can destroy your life

“What they are telling young people [in Zaragoza] is that among the precautions they should take when they consume cocaine is to make sure they don’t hurt their nose, to use the right tube for sniffing,” said Jorge Azcón, of the conservative Popular Party (PP), who called on the pamphlet to be withdrawn.

‘Destroy your life’

“It’s not about the damage you might do to your nose – what they don’t say is that cocaine can destroy your life,” he added.

Mr Azcón also claimed that the document failed to draw a distinction between hard recreational drugs such as cocaine and medicinal drugs like paracetamol.

The liberal Ciudadanos party, meanwhile, has said it was considering taking legal action against Zaragoza city hall.

But the city’s mayor, Pedro Santisteve, defended the guide, insisting it was “not aimed at a young readership, but rather at educators and healthcare professionals in the community”.