Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 20th 2015 Contents A6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, January 20, 2015
"Scrubbers" has been addicted to
crack/cocaine for the past 47 years.
At 63 years old, he is one of the
many crack addicts in T&T who
depend on the one per cent of the
imported cocaine which remains here
for domestic use after it is smuggled
in by transnational drug cartels.
This pure cocaine is "cooked" or
mixed with chemicals like baking
soda to stretch its use and is even-
tually formed into the hard rock
called "crack" by its users on the
"We call it crack," Scrubbers told
the Guardian Media Limited s Enter-
"I drink, drink alcohol, alcohol is
not my choice of drugs. Crack has
been my choice of drugs. It come
like a comfort nah."
He was just 16 when he was first
introduced to the drug and has been
imprisoned for drug-related offences
several times since then.
Scrubbers even had his try at reha-
bilitation but was not a success.
"If your family don t accept you
and don t support you, you end up
back right there."
Scrubbers lives at Centre for the
Socially Displaced in Port-of-Spain
and told GML he gets money to buy
crack from running errands for the
elderly and street vendors.
Drug cartel's scraps create social woes
An addict's paradise
Urvashi Tiwari-Roopnarine has
been investigating T&T's flour-
ishing illegal drug trade for the
past several weeks. That jour-
ney has taken her to several
parts of the country for exten-
sive interviews with several
people involved in the trade,
people who have been
researching it and members of
the law enforcement agencies
and government charged with
trying to prevent the activity.
Today, she talks to a
crack/cocaine addict in her final
article on the trade titled
Cracks in Our Borders.
The drug is accessible and
easy to get.
"It does sell all over. It sell
five, 10, 15, 20, 25 ...100 and
Crack is smoked as opposed
to the way cocaine is inhaled.
It can also be administered
intravenously with needles,
but this also exposes addicts
to HIV/. Scientists say it is
the most addictive form of
cocaine and offers a short but
"It doesn't last for long.
That's why you go over and
over and over."
He said he is not proud of
his life, but noted that crack
has now become part of the
fibres which make up his
"Once you get a little
money you might drink
something, eat something,
but most of your money goes
to crack," he told GML, adding
that crack users like himself
rarely ever steal to maintain
"People come and bring
food, so once your belly full
and you have your crack you
don't have to go and thief,"
For him, crack will remain a
part of his life until it ends.
"I know individuals who
stop smoking and didn't last a
month, when they finish. You
see it becomes a part of your
body nah. It's like when you
wake up in the morning you
must drink tea."
He said crack even talks to
him and admits it is not for
everyone, "Some people
smoke and feel all kind of
thing walking on them and
see all kind of thing.
Sometimes you may be
looking for something and it
right in your hand," he said,
laughed as he explained.
Scrubbers told us not all
crack addicts live his kind of
life, as there are users from
all walks of society.
"All kind of people... lawyers,
doctors dentists. I bounce up
all kind of people in all walks
of life. You may see
somebody in jacket and tie
and he smoking more than
They are the ones, he said,
who can afford to maintain
their habits and do not end up
being socially displaced as he
is. They are the ones who also
form convenient alliances
with people like him,
"When he get his salary he
don't want anybody to see he
smoking. He look for
somebody like me, who
knows how to handle things,
carry him in an apartment
and he spend. Remember he's
working, he spends hundred
after hundred sometimes."
Scrubbers sees this habit
as a never ending cyle.
"Cocaine sells faster than
gold, you see it's a money
Drug researcher Darius Figueira
believes T&T has transitioned out
of the crack addiction period into
a new phase of drug addiction.
Saying it's out with the old and
in with the new, Figueira says the
new recreational drugs of North
America and Europe are now
becoming the choice for those
who can afford it.
"Crack has been around in
Trinidad for a long time so it's
now a sunset drug. It has been
around for a long time, so T&T
and the Caribbean is now ripe for
meth," he said.
The potency of cocaine, he said,
is also beginning to wear off,
while the producers of the new
addictive drugs are getting better
at their trade.
"The Mexicans are the best
cookers of meth in the world.
They give you pure potency meth
at the lowest prices in the world,"
he said. And despite wars waged
against cartels and narcotics,
head of International Relations at
the University of the West Indies,
Professor Andy Knight, does not
foresee an end to the drug trade.
"As long as there is a demand
for drugs coming from countries
that have a large middle class
that are into drugs and very rich,
people that can afford to buy
them, I don't think you can stop
the flow of drugs into that
For now though, it's Scrubbers
and addicts like him, their pipes,
needles and a 10-ball in the
square, getting themselves into a
state they know all too well.
NEW ERA DAWNS
I drink, drink alcohol, alcohol is not my
choice of drugs. Crack has been my choice
of drugs. It come like a comfort nah.
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