Jun. 1st, 2011

pasithea: tankgirlesque (tech)
I posted this comment on someone else's journal but it's one of those things that's been bothering me for a little bit so I'm reposting it here. This comment is in regard to the news over the new satan of War on Drugs, a cocaine derivative called Oxi.

FWIW, I don't like cocaine or what it does to people. I don't use cocaine. I think it is a drug that is genuinely pretty harmful to people and society. However, I also think misinformation is highly toxic and similarly destructive to people and society. It also really sickens me to see the discrepancy between enforcement and prosecution of 'cocaine' vs 'crack'. They are the SAME drug. You can turn coke into crack and vice versa with stuff you have in your kitchen. Of course, one is more pure and used by wealthy white people and the other is less pure and was associated with poor communities. So you know which one is worse.

I was skeptical of the claims about Oxi so I did a little research and found pretty-much what I expected.

It is more powerful than common street crack. It is less powerful than the sort of cocaine that republicans like to snort.

The process for extracting most alkaloids from their surrounding plant matter is the same. It's a basic acid/base extraction process. The purity and quantity of product produced depends on stability of the alkaloid, the extraction method used, the solvents used, and what similar substances are in the plant matter. I don't know the exact process for any of them because I stay as far away from that sort of drug as I can but it's very basic organic chemistry.

Crack is a crude extraction. It's probably either a loose acid/base extraction or a straight-to-base extraction. Purity for crack is supposedly around 40-50%. Probably the PH of cocaine is such that it's difficult to pop the mole without bringing a lot of other stuff up into your base from the plant material.

Refined cocaine on the other end of the spectrum has been taken acid to base, defatted some number of times, and then re-crystalized into a salt. So. White cocaine (Cocaine HCL) is the acidified salt form and crack cocaine is the free base form. I'm guessing it's stabilized by the gums and ethers of the plant material it is in. Basically however, if you were to put crack in some hydrochloric acid you get Cocaine HCL. Or for that matter, you could just use vinegar and get Cocaine Acetate. which should be every bit as effective as HCL.

Oxi is alleged to be 70-80% pure. It sounds as if someone has found the right combinations of acids, bases, polar, and non-polar solvents to do a simple crude extraction without a lot of loss and a formula that's easy to follow. That makes it easier to smoke/insufflate and cheaper/easier to transport. So people are getting higher doses at lower cost. If the process is cheap and easy with good yields, that also lowers cost/increases production.

While the higher purity might make it less toxic than crack, the impurities that were plant matter could have been replaced with stuff that's worse. (For example, Xylene, Hexane, and Heptane are often used as non-polar solvents and they are all carcinogenic in even relatively small quantities) Incidentally, both Cocaine HCL and Crack are extracted with similar solvents.

But FWIW, Oxi is cheaper/more refined crack. It's not 'more addictive' per se, or even 'stronger'. It's just a higher purity version of crack that's probably cheap to produce. Purified Cocaine HCL is still more potent and addictive but of course it's the drug of rich white guys, not poor people in ghettos so it's not nearly as 'bad' because George Bush can control himself unlike the sub-humans.

It's definitely a dangerous and addictive drug but the media noise is more or less just sensationalism. Wake me up when they raise the alarms about Cocaine HCL which is even MORE powerful and addictive than Crack. As it stands, Cocaine HCL is Schedule 3 and Crack is Schedule 1. So your penalties for having the same amount of crack as Cocaine HCL are MUCH higher. (Plus you need twice as much for the same effect but the law is by gross weight of the active agent and the carrier)

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