Blow, bumper, candy, primo, snort, snow, white sugar, coke …
there are over 396 names for cocaine and its related uses. Many of
these terms spawned from the ’70s and ’80s, a time when cocaine was
thought to be one of the most popular drugs of choice, a time when
cocaine was thought of as a trendy way for young people to get a
quick high. It used to be a drug that was seen at an uncountable
number of college parties all across the nation. But today, that
fad is almost nonexistent; cocaine lost its popularity along with
free love, disco and long-haired rock bands … or did it?
Jim Weber, assistant director for the Center for Drug and
Alcohol Education at CSU, said when he was attending college in the
’70s, the cocaine use and addiction rate was much higher.
“There was a brief period in the ’70s when, even medically
speaking, coke was said to be a drug that was not dangerous or
addictive and a lot of people wanted to believe that,” Weber said.
“Most everything was going on a lot more then than it does now.
There was just a lot less accountability back then.”
Weber is head of the Day Four program on the CSU campus, which
is a campus-based, one-of-a-kind drug court dedicated to helping
students get back into school after being charged with drug
offenses. He said that while he does acknowledge that cocaine is
still in use today, it is just simply not the drug of choice for
However, some college students beg to differ.
In fact, cocaine seems to be so easily accessible at college
parties that when Jessica Rodriguez, a junior majoring in business
at CU, was at a party last semester and asked the owner of the
house for some Coke-a-Cola for her alcoholic beverage, the hostess
mistook her, thinking Rodriguez was requesting cocaine, and pointed
her discreetly to a back room. Rodriguez quickly fixed the
miscommunication, but was surprised at how quickly the assumption
“Over the last three years we have only seen two cocaine cases,”
Lisa Miller, assistant director for conflict resolution and
student conduct services for CSU, agrees with Weber.
“I think cost is one of the prohibiting factors. It’s just not
the most popular drug,” Miller said.
Both Miller and Weber said that students who attend schools like
Denver University and the University of Colorado, on average, have
more money, which makes those schools more likely to have a higher
rate of cocaine usage than CSU.
Stephen Bentley, coordinator of substance abuse at the
University of Colorado’s health center, said that this is probably
“I would expect that assumption to be true. Obviously, because
the price of cocaine is higher than other drugs, it is easier to
obtain when students have more cash,” he said. Rodriguez said that
while she doesn’t believe in doing cocaine, she thinks there is
even more cocaine usage at her school than at CSU.
“I think that because there is more money on this campus there
are more drugs being bought, sold and used,” she said. “Coke seems
to be easily accessible. Marijuana is the most popular drug (at
CU), but coke is definitely second.”
John, which is not his real name, is a CSU student who said that
although cocaine has expensive prices, it doesn’t stop students
from doing it. He said the prices are usually about $50 a gram and
$150 for an eight ball, which contains about 3 grams.
“The truth is, I don’t know how people afford it, but it is
around. Someone always has some,” John said.
He has also noticed if a person does coke, they are almost
automatically considered to be a part of a sort of hidden culture –
an underground culture that they keep secret from non-users.
“My freshman and sophomore year I would’ve never guessed that
anyone did it, but as soon as I did it once, no one went out of
their way to hide it from me anymore … it was everywhere,” John
said. “I would say that if you are in the bar scene, over 50
percent of people are doing cocaine but you would never know
John said that although many people are doing cocaine, it is
usually on the weekends and not on a regular basis.
“Student’s financial standing keeps them from getting addicted.
People are usually only doing it on the weekends to party,” he
Erika Walcher, a senior technical journalism major at CSU, said
that while she has never done cocaine, she feels cocaine is used a
lot at CSU parties and has seen a rise in its use over this past
“This last year I have seen it used at a lot of parties. I was
never as aware of how much it is being used until this year,”
Walcher said. “I started piecing together that that is how a lot of
people who party get, and keep, all of their energy.”
Now that she has realized the prevalence of cocaine in Fort
Collins, Walcher said she has noticed its abundance at parties.
Weber said that he is shocked to know that students feel that
cocaine use is so prominent among the college atmosphere.
“I think that there is always a lag time between what students
are doing and what we know about. It is certainly possible that the
perceived use is higher than we know,” Weber said.
However, both Miller and Weber said that one of the reasons they
may not deal with a lot of students who are seriously addicted to
cocaine is because they may drop out of school completely and
therefore have no association with the university or its
The two also agree that no matter how large or small cocaine
usage associated with CSU may be, they see it as a serious
“Our hope is that we can educate people to make good choices,”
Miller said, and she warned against any experimental use of
cocaine. “Youth can be very vulnerable to trouble and bad choices
and it only takes one time to have a bad reaction or to get into
-Powder cocaine is generally snorted or dissolved in water and
-Crack cocaine is usually smoked
-Cocaine is the second most commonly used illicit drug in the
-About 10 percent of Americans over the age of 12 have tried
-There is a steady supply of cocaine coming into the
metropolitan areas of Colorado.
-Mexico is the main supplier of cocaine to U.S.
(Statistics are according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement