Cocaine users are being duped into paying £200 a gram for “environmentally-friendly sniff” which is really wreaking eco devastation.
So-called “woke coke” has been touted as being ethically sourced from well-paid farmers.
But drugs experts say claims it may help the planet are nothing more than “clever marketing” to keep prices high.
Far from saving trees, they say increased demand for it is only contributing to an environmental disaster in South America, where the overwhelming majority is sourced.
Experts estimate that for every gram of powder snorted in Britain, four square metres of rainforest is cut down.
So with every sniff, rainforests are being slowly but irreparably destroyed and the cycle of bloodshed and misery linked to the trade goes on and on.
Drug policy expert Neil Woods revealed: “I have been shown ads for ‘environmentally-friendly sniff’ but it’s nothing but a very clever marketing ploy.
“At £200 a gram, I call it the ‘woke coke con’.
There is no way you can have environmentally-friendly cocaine, not when the market is unregulated like it is today, so people are paying more for the same product.
“The dealers can lie because the government has no control and they are being increasingly clever about how they operate. The amount of money being made is obscene – the cocaine industry generates around £2.5billion annually in the UK.”
Drug cartels are said to be responsible for the destruction of almost 100,000 hectares of jungle every year.
Between 2001 and 2019, the Catatumbo rainforest in Colombia lost 6.2% of its tree cover. There were also several months of unusually high deforestation last year as cocaine demand soared in lockdown.
Respected Colombian botanist Alberto Gomez Mejia, 73, said: “They are killing this country and it’s a vicious cycle.
“The narco growers destroy the jungle, the government destroys the plantations and then the growers have to go further afield, and so on. “When there’s so much space to do it and it’s so lucrative, there is no end.”
Lawrence Gibbons, Head of Drug Threat at the National Crime Agency, said: “The cocaine trade inevitably drives violence and destruction in the UK and abroad, ranging from violence and exploitation in source countries to young and vulnerable people on the streets of the UK put at significant risk.
“Harmful elements of the cocaine trade cannot be avoided – forests are being destroyed and hazardous chemicals used to produce the drugs are dumped in waters.”
Colombian aid worker Bibiana Villota is outraged that UK dealers are buying in to the claims of ethically sourced or eco-friendly drugs.
Bibiana, 29, said: “I’ve never heard of woke coke but I can tell you, no one in Colombia produces cocaine ‘ethically’.
“The trade inevitably involves bloodshed, the destabilisation of communities and an appalling cycle of violence. If demand goes up, so does production and the cycle of destruction continues. What you call fair trade cocaine is only going to bring more greed and bloodshed.”
Woke coke was being touted last year as dealers tried to appeal to eco-conscious millennials wanting a weekend fix without feeling guilty. Experts say around 1,500 tonnes of coke leaves Colombia every year.
Around half is transported to Europe. Across Britain, hospital admissions linked to coke doubled from 2,140 in 2008-09 to 4,341 in 2018-19, with the biggest increase among those aged between 50 and 59.
Former Hollyoaks actress Davina Taylor, 43, is one of many to blow the whistle on woke coke, which she claims is regularly offered at celeb parties in Chiswick, West London.
In October she revealed: “In Chiswick everyone’s got woke coke – it’s from ‘sustainable sources’ in South America. “They’re like, ‘Hi, darling, I’ve got woke coke. It’s all PC, £200 a gram’. They’ve got their vegan food, their organic wine and their woke coke and a spliff going.
“‘They say, ‘It’s fine, it’s fine, I know it’s sustainable, we’re actually putting back into the countryside’. When you look back on the hypocrisy, it’s bulls**t.”
One London user, marketing executive Sophie, 40, said: “My dealer once sent a drugs menu over WhatsApp that showed a range of options including low purity coke at £60 a gram and ethically sourced coke for £200. It’s madness.”