By Drug Reporter

It is not our search for pleasure that is so damaging to the environment, but corporal greed, social injustice, and inequality.

“You can’t call yourself a climate change activist if you’re doing coke,” says Dan Burkitt in his opinion piece for the Metro. “MDMA is killing trees,” says a video on VICE. It seems the idea that drug users should be blamed and shamed for destroying the planet is a very virulent one. The environmental damage these people refer to is real and it is related to the production of substances many people use, such as cocaine or MDMA. However, if you have a closer look at the arguments, you will see that it is not people who use these substances who should be blamed – but governments who keep the production of these drugs unregulated.

In the early 20th century the coca leaf was a legal agricultural commodity and cocaine was a legal substance widely used in medicine. The German pharmaceutical company, Merck, imported coca leaf and crude cocaine paste from South America to produce hundreds of kilos of cocaine in its laboratories in Frankfurt. An Italian entrepreneur, Angelo Mariani, invented a popular beverage called Vin Mariani, containing low levels of alcohol and cocaine. He also imported coca leaf from Peru and produced thousands of bottles in his factory in Neuilly, France.