The New Zealand Herald

Drug loyalty cards for cocaine users

- Steve Bird

With its smiling face logo and tempting offer to buy five and get the sixth free, this loyalty card at first appears as innocuous as those offered by any coffee shop or supermarke­t.

But it is being handed out to wealthy cocaine users in Britain to boost sales and loyalty and reveals just how fierce competitio­n between drug dealers fighting turf wars for ‘market dominance’ has become.

Drug campaigner­s warned that the emergence of such loyalty cards shows how middle-class cocaine users were fuelling violence — including knife and gun crime between gangs — on city streets. The card appears to mimic the imagery associated with the dance and rave music cultures of the 1980’s and 1990’s, suggesting they are targeting those in their 30’s, 40’s and even older.

The card ‘scheme’ offers stamps for bulk purchases giving the sixth and then 12th wrap of cocaine free, said the source who handed it to the Daily Telegraph. A wrap of cocaine generally costs between £50 and £80, depending on the quality, the source said, adding that it is understood a network of couriers deliver the drug.

David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham, said: “People who are buy- ing cocaine on a Friday night in the City or are having drugs delivered to a dinner party or a house party in a wealthy suburb have got to . . . make the connection between their drug use and what is happening on the streets.

“Having cocaine delivered to your door is as easy as hailing a taxi or ordering a pizza. There is a lucrative market worth billions of pounds and what this means in communitie­s like mine is that teenagers and school kids, who are almost always black and from deprived background­s, are essentiall­y foot soldiers for gangsters much higher up the food chain.”

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