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Pink Cocaine, a Miami Original That Is Less Original Than It Sounds


In the 1980s, Miami Vice granted a pop culture mystique to several aspects of Miami’s aesthetic that never would have been cool in the 1970s.  It wasn’t the obvious things, though, not the cops or the cocaine.  Police-themed shows have represented an astonishingly large percentage of programming throughout the television era, and cocaine was a ubiquitous part of 1970s chic.  That costly white powder fueled the in-crowd from coast to coast, from Studio 54 to the L.A. recording studio where Fleetwood Mac recorded Rumours; it wasn’t until John Belushi’s overdose death in 1982 that the jet set started to think that cocaine wasn’t harmless fun.  Likewise, the show made Phil Collins cool, the same Phil Collins who spent his 20s drumming in time signatures that would make a math major blush and singing lyrics based on obscure novels.  Who can forget the image of Collins lounging in a hot tub in the back of a limousine, the Florida sun reflecting off of his balding head?  The show’s most lasting influence was its salt water taffy color palette; Miami Vice made it cool for tough guys to wear pink.  The show’s creators insisted that the colors red and brown never appear on screen; these earth tones were best left to the mermaids who sing each to each, but never to J. Alfred Prufrock.  Based on this, one might reasonably assume that pink cocaine is merely the name of a prop used on a show like Miami Vice, much like the “blue sky” meth on Breaking Bad.  In fact, there is a drug called pink cocaine, and while it is pink, it isn’t cocaine.  Here, our Miami drug crimes defense lawyer explains the origins of the drug known as pink cocaine and why it has recently attracted the attention of law enforcement in South Florida.

The Pink Stuff Is Even More Illegal Than Actual Cocaine

Pink cocaine is not cocaine, not even close.  It is one of many synthetic drugs belonging to a category known as phenethylamines; its chemical name is often abbreviated as 2c or 2C-B, because what makes it different from other phenethylamines is that its molecule has two carbon atoms in a place where other phenethylamines do not.  Therefore, it also has other common names such as Tuci or Tucibi.

2c is one of numerous phenethylamines synthesized by Alexander Shulgin in the 1970s, in an effort to make psychedelic substances that were technically different from the ones banned by the Controlled Substances Act but which produced similar effects.  Shulgin’s original hope for 2c was that it would find use as a psychiatric medication, the way that some doctors experimentally prescribe psilocybin today.  The drug became popular for other uses, though. For a while, it was sold commercially in Germany as an aphrodisiac and in the Netherlands as a study drug.  2c has never been legal for medical use in the United States; it is a Schedule I controlled substance, which means that it does not have any legally acknowledged medical indications.  By contrast, cocaine is a Schedule II substance, since it is legal for surgeons to apply cocaine topically to prevent bleeding during eye surgery.

Like other phenethylamines, 2c affects different users in different ways.  It is a central nervous system stimulant, but some people seek it out as a psychedelic or empathogen.  It might as well be called pink ketamine, pink ecstasy, or pink meth.  But why is it pink?

Why All the Fuss About Pink Cocaine?

It is possible to snort 2c, as one would with cocaine, but the preferred route of administration is by mouth.  The trouble is that 2c does not taste very good.  Therefore, distributors have taken to mixing it with Kool-Aid powder that, if mixed with water, would yield a red or pink beverage, but when mixed with 2c, simply yields a pink powder with pleasant taste and even more pleasant effects.

2c, in the form of pink cocaine, has increased its presence in Florida’s drug supply recently; law enforcement has made seven arrests related to the sale of pink cocaine in 2023.  Authorities believe that most of the 2c in Florida’s drug supply enters through Miami International Airport, so the new class of drug-sniffing K-9s has been trained to identify the scent of pink cocaine.

Contact Our Criminal Defense Attorneys

A South Florida criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are facing charges for 2c or another synthetic drug.  Contact Ratzan & Faccidomo in Miami, Florida for a free, confidential consultation about your case.





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