Cocaine: An Indian Status Symbol

Cocaine embodies a certain status symbol and has developed a reputation for those who use it in India. Cocaine users are known in India as the country’s “Thin Upper Crust.” With its exclusively high price tag and scarcity in India, those who can come to possess cocaine are often elevated quickly to an elite social status in some circles.

Cocaine is more than just a drug 1

Cocaine threatens users with intense psychological and physiological impairments; its addictive nature can eventually cause a dependency on the drug, and the feelings of exhilaration that come when addicts sniff or smoke cocaine are very difficult to recover from. On top of the direct effects of cocaine, the drug sadly has indirect effects as well. As mentioned above, it has become a sort of “status symbol” in India. KC Verma, the current director-general of India’s Narcotics Control Bureau recognized this inconvenient reality when he commented on the symbolism surrounding the illicit drug.

He unenthusiastically said, “Unfortunately, cocaine has become a status symbol in some circles. It is for a certain spectrum of the urban elite.” He goes on to describe cocaine users as, “India’s thin upper crust.”

Cocaine’s social status 2

In 2008, Armin Heinrich developed a unique way for someone to reach an elevated social status: the “I Am Rich” application for the Apple iPhone. The app could be purchased for $999.99 or Rs 52,172. When downloaded, the 0.1 MB application displayed a glowing red gem. If the user pressed the icon it would display the following mantra in large red words:

“I am rich. I deserve it. I am good, healthy & successful.”

Eight sales were made. The buyers were allegedly reported to say they, “really loved the app, [and] had no trouble spending the money.”

Of course, the sole purpose of purchasing the app was to elevate the buyer to an uniquely “rich” status. Though this extreme example only escalated eight people to an elite status, it still shows the power of social exclusivity.

The high cost of cocaine makes it rare in India and essentially unavailable for most of the population. Because of its high price tag, addicts are attracted by the “air of exclusivity” that comes with purchasing the drug. Youngsters are particularly attracted by the potential social status the drug could elevate them into. Cocaine is only one example of the increasing social acceptancem, and even embracement of drug use in India.

Cocaine De-Addiction 3

If you discover yourself being drawn down the path of cocaine addiction, seek help quickly. Many centres have developed programs exclusively for cocaine-like addictions. Cocaine is a very dangerous drug. One addict said it like this: “The first time you take it, you get a totally different feeling – you feel like you have to do it, you cannot live without it.”

For more information on cocaine, visit our cocaine page in our glossary.

Read more about the effects of cocaine.

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