New ‘Pink Cocaine’ dubbed the ‘Coca-Cola’ of illicit substances found in Europe
Pink cocaine has endured a meteoric rise in South American clubs and has been described as "very millennial" and the "Coca-Cola of drugs".
Now, the designer drug has been detected in Europe, cropping up in Spain, according to new research.
Tusi, as it is known, has been seized in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, as well as in Panama. Reports suggest it has also made its way to Mexico, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay.
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There is still confusion, however, as to what tusi actually comprises. In Panama, a police spokesman said tusi was ketamine cut with the pharmaceutical opioid tramadol – and of course the main ingredient, food colouring.
In Venezuela, media claimed it was LSD with a dash of MDMA. In Uruguay, the Interior Minister suggested it was a mixture of cocaine, methamphetamine and LSD.
But Julián Andrés Quintero, investigative sociologist at Social Technical Action, a Colombian drug policy NGO, said tusi is a name of the product of great product merchandising, a blanket term for a new wave of drugs.
“It’s a very millennial drug, very post-millenial as well,” Quintero told InSight Crime. “I consider it the great ‘merchandising’ product of drugs in Colombia and [maybe even] in Latin America and the world.”
Its aesthetic pink look created instant demand, and it flooded the aforementioned illicit markets.
“The food colouring [was important]: this is what gives it its colour and smell. [It became] an attractive substance,” Quintero added.
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As far back as 2016 the substance has been found in Spain. Back then, a ketamine, cocaine and methamphetamine mixture was found by police near Madrid, in several refining laboratories.
As of mid-2022, tusi is still proving popular in Spain.
Back during the 2016 bust police said the lab was staffed by Columbians, who intended to sell the drug at music events, including on the party island of Ibiza.
In small doses, it causes Ecstasy-style euphoria but in larger doses it can create powerful hallucinations.
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