Campaign exposes harmful reality of cocaine use

2 December 2015

A new National Crime Agency campaign is launched today to highlight the harm caused by the production and distribution of cocaine.

The #EveryLineCounts campaign targets recreational users who care about social justice issues but may not realise that their casual behaviour has devastating consequences for children, communities, and the environment in cocaine producing countries.

The campaign runs alongside the NCA’s continued targeting of organised criminal networks responsible for trafficking cocaine. Over 70 tonnes of cocaine was seized as a result of NCA activity globally in 2014/15.

Tony Saggers, Head of Drugs Threat at the NCA, said: “Recreational users, who perhaps care about the exploitation of workers in sweatshops or environmental abuses, often have no idea of the damage funded by their occasional line.

“We think many of them would be shocked by the reality. When they use cocaine, aside from putting their own lives at risk, they are feeding an industry which routinely uses death, violence and destruction in its production process.

“Buying cocaine funds the exploitation of impoverished people, destroys and pollutes large areas of rainforest, forces people from their homes so coca can be grown on their land, and results in the murder of police officers and others who stand in the way of powerful crime groups. Those harms are usually out of sight of the end user, and we don’t think they should be.

“The NCA and its partners will continue to disrupt the crime groups involved in the distribution of cocaine at every single point in the supply chain. But cocaine supply is about making money, and the end user drives production.

“We are asking people to weigh up the facts and ask themselves whether they can square their use of this drug with the damage it does to others.”

The campaign is being supported by partners in Colombia, with some of their most senior law enforcement officers sharing their experiences.

Major General Ricardo Alberto Restrepo, from the Colombian Anti-Narcotics Police, said:

"We see criminal activities due to drug trafficking such as killings, extortion, theft, money laundering and smuggling. Each pound spent to buy drugs in the UK is money which will be used to buy firearms, which will kill policemen and women as well as other victims linked to drug trafficking.”

#EveryLineCounts launches today on the NCA’s Twitter, Facebook and YouTube channels. It includes graphic images of violence linked to the cocaine trade, and a ‘How to make cocaine’ animation showing the harm the cocaine trade causes from the point of production to the streets of the UK.

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