Apr 282004
Authors: Elizabeth Kerrigan

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

college students.

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

was made.

“Over the last three years we have only seen two cocaine cases,”

Weber said.

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

bad trouble.”


-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

United States

-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


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