Cocaine (powdered form - Hydrochloride) was known as a status symbol during the last two (2) decades of the previous century and was largely abused by persons with high incomes. For many years Cocaine was not accessible to the man on the street because of its high unit price.

The high costs of Cocaine ruined various families financially and Cocaine caused persons to turn to crime, most often prostitution.

Since 1994 South Africa has experienced a drastic increase in the import of Cocaine. This can be attributed to the influx of immigrants from West and Central Africa, which is currently in control of the Cocaine market, as well as the saturation of Cocaine on the world market in especially the United States.

In the past years "Crack Cocaine", known as "Rocks", has found its way into the South African market. This made Cocaine more accessible to the abuser because Crack is cheaper than Cocaine powder. According to the DEA Crack is the fastest growing drug of abuse in South Africa.


The leaves of the Coca plant was used by the Incas in the Andes Mountains of South America as a stimulant and traditional medicine for illnesses that were associated with work above certain heights above sea level. Cocaine was produced and used for medicinal purposes during the second half of the 18th century.

Cocaine is derived from the Coca plant that grows in areas between 500 and 1 500m above sea level in soil that is rich in nutrients, certain temperatures and climate. It is precisely South America that measures up to the requirements for the successful cultivation of the Coca plant.

These Coca plants are currently being cultivated in an organized way by the crime syndicates of South America, especially in Peru, Bolivia and Colombia. The Coca leaves are harvested and taken to laboratories in countries such as Colombia, where it is processed into Cocaine powder by means of a complex chemical method. This is sold at an enormous profit and dispersed worldwide.
In countries such as Colombia, it brought the rise of mighty drug syndicates that generated millions of dollars monthly by means of Cocaine smuggling. A state of war between the policing agencies, especially the DEA, and the drug syndicates exists up to today.

Thousands of people, such as policemen, informers, judges, politicians and civilian people, have lost their lives during the Cocaine wars.


Smuggling method

Cocaine, in powder form, is smuggled into South Africa in any way possible. Experience obtained during confiscations has shown that the following methods are used :

  • false panels of suitcases
  • in motor vehicle spares
  • inside ornaments
  • shoe soles
  • aerosol cans
  • cool drink cans
in short
- any possible item that is hollow

A well-known method of smuggling Cocaine, especially by West African citizens, is to swallow condoms filled with Cocaine. The filled condoms are known as "Bullets". It has happened that these condoms have burst in the stomachs of couriers, which led to their deaths.

Bullets surgically removed from courier's stomach

There have been confiscations by SANAB at Johannesburg International Airport where Nigerians were arrested that had swallowed 66 to 99 "Bullets".

It happens increasingly that Cocaine smugglers recruit young South Africans as couriers or as the so called "Mule".

A lot of these young South Africans are recruited with promises of large amounts of money that will be paid to them if they successfully smuggle the Cocaine that is stuck to their bodies or hidden in their suitcases, into the country.

There are various dangers associated with this, such as :

  • the courier is used as a decoy - the drug smuggler gives the person a small amount of drugs to carry and then arranges that the person gets arrested at the airport - this way the attention is diverted from the main courier that is on the same flight.
  • the courier can be arrested in a country where a drug smuggler can be sentenced to death. The jails in countries such as South America and Asia are in a very precarious condition and a person's safety is not guaranteed.
  • a person smuggles the consignment of drugs successfully for the drug smuggler but does not get paid.
  • it has happened that persons were sent to South America and was left stranded because the transaction one way or the other fell through and the person is left on his / her own without money or passport.

North America - 145
South America - 142
African countries - 135
Europe - 61
Asia and the Far East - 39


As soon as the consignment of Cocaine is received from the courier it undergoes a cutting process that is known as "Cut".

The Cocaine that is smuggled into the country is of a high level of purity and is taken and put through the cutting process. The cutting process is the adding of certain substances to enlarge the quantity of the Cocaine drastically to make more profit out of the consignment (1kg Cocaine can increase to 4kg).

Cases were found where Cocaine was mixed with seriously harmful substances, such as feet powder, drain cleaner, Vim etc. In general substances such as Vidol, tooth powder, sugar and various other starches are used to cut the Cocaine.

The further Cocaine goes down in the smugglers' hierarchy the poorer the quality becomes. The reason for this is that each smuggler will cut the Cocaine to reach his own specific marketable quantity.


Cocaine is placed on a smooth object / area, for example a mirror, and an object such as a razor blade will be used to arrange it in lines. This powder is then snorted up through the nose by means of a straw or rolled up banknote.

Cocaine powder can also be dissolved in water and injected.

The well known method of injecting is known as the so-called "Speed Ball". This is when Cocaine and Heroin is mixed and injected and the nervous system is simultaneous stimulated and suppressed.

A lot of people have died because of this method, such as the well-known River Phoenix.


As soon as Cocaine is snorted through the nose, it gets absorbed by the soft mucous tissues of the nose from where it is absorbed through the blood vessels.

Two things happen to the body :

  • Firstly, the blood pressure rises drastically because of the excessive secretion of dopamine in the body, which is the body's natural stimulant.
  • Secondly, the heart rhythms are seriously disturbed and it usually happens that the heart starts beating faster.

This creates the feeling of hyper-activity for the user and causes the energy levels to rise drastically. There are also certain psychological changes that take place in the user, such as he experiences a feeling of satisfaction and that he will have no other inhibitions.

The most dangerous effect the use of Cocaine causes, is the drastic increase in the blood pressure and this can cause death in the cases of overdosing. The reason for this is that the user's blood pressure can rise too high and he or she can have a serious hart attack or stroke. This usually happens when a Cocaine user is familiar with the strength of a certain dosage and he or she suddenly uses a dosage that is mixed stronger.

It has also happened that Cocaine addicts use this substance for days on end. This is known as "Binging" and can lead to overdosing.


  • runny nose
  • bleeding nose
  • he/she sniffs continuously
  • weight loss
  • hyperactivity
  • paranoia
  • somnolence
  • aggression
  • nervous disorder
  • excessive self confidence
  • anxiety attacks and hallucinations


  • mirrors with Cocaine residue
  • rolled-up banknotes
  • straws
  • rectangular pieces of plastic from shopping bags (Snatch)
  • folded envelopes
  • injection needles
PRICE : R150 - R250 per gram,
but is available on street level at R50 for a "Snatch"


Manufacturing of Crack Cocaine

Crack Cocaine is a crystal that is derived by mixing normal Cocaine Hydrochloride with Bicarbonate of Soda and putting it through a chemical process whereby the crystals are formed. Only a small amount of Cocaine is needed to make a large quantity of Crack Crystals.

These crystals can be found in various sizes and forms, namely

  • "Bananas"
  • "Golf Balls"
  • "Rocks" (street level)


For more pictures go to the Photo Gallery

The rock / crack is usually smoked by means of a pipe that is called a "Rockpipe". The most common form of a Rockpipe is a glass tube that contains a copper wire filter. The rock is placed on the filter and then burnt with a lighter. As soon as the gasses are released it is inhaled.


Because of the fact that Crack is smoked it means that it is absorbed in the lungs that contains a lot of oxygen rich blood. This helps the drug to be absorbed much faster in the body that makes the "Rush" very intense.

Crack has the same side-effects as Cocaine Powder even though a person does not overdose easily on Crack Cocaine. It is important to note that the level of addiction is much higher than that of Cocaine Powder.


  • runny nose
  • bleeding nose
  • he/she sniffs continuously
  • weight loss
  • hyperactivity
  • paranoia
  • somnolence
  • aggression
  • nervous disorder
  • excessive self confidence
  • anxiety attacks - the crack user is often found looking for microscopically small pieces of "Rock" that might have been lost
  • "Crack Thumb" - burst open calluses on thumb

  • test tubes
  • small steel pipes
  • pieces of mesh wire
  • rectangular pieces of plastic from shopping bags (Snatch)
  • empty cigarette lighters
  • electrical cords that are cut open to remove the copper wire for filters
  • copper pot scourer
PRICE : R40 - R120 (depending on the size of the "Rock")


Cocaine does not only cause a breakdown in family standards, but causes people to be financially ruined because after using it for the first time they come back for more and more. It was found during interviews with people in Johannesburg that they have seen persons that arrive with a Porsche and then after three (3) months find the person as a total hobo on street where he has lost all his money because of Cocaine.

Cocaine, more specifically Crack Cocaine, is the drug of choice amongst prostitutes. It is due to the fact that it provides them with high levels of energy and breaks down all their inhibitions that make their sex work easier. Cocaine holds a serious danger for prostitutes, due to the fact that this psychological change breaks down their inhibitions. They are caught in a web where they need the drug to do their work and need the work to get the drug. This is in such cases where the prostitutes are in debt with the smugglers and cannot pay their debts anymore. It has been reported by "The House" in Hillbrow that in some cases prostitutes use as much as R30 000 worth of Crack Cocaine a month. When the effect has worn off it is found that these ladies sell themselves for sex to between 15 and 25 men per day to be able to finance their drug habits.

Some of these ladies that became involved with the Nigerians, who act as their so-called "Pimps", and are paid with drugs, soon experience problems because they develop serious cash flow problems. It is then that they start selling sex to men without using condoms that causes serious social deviation, namely the spreading of HIV and Aids.

Read more about the following drugs...
Dagga | Mandrax | LSD | XTC | Cocaine | Heroin | Rohypnol | Welcanol | Pethadine

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