Cokeinoes! Cocaine delivered faster than pizza

By Professor Adam R Winstock
Founder & CEO, Global Drug Survey

pizza with cocaine topping

Can you get cocaine delivered faster than a pizza? Yes. 
OK, at first glance, this does not seem to fit in with the usual areas that Global Drug Survey chooses to explore. After all, we are a serious bunch of academics and we research things that we hope will help people use drugs more safely and to help craft optimal public health policies. But we also look more broadly at areas of interest to people who use drugs. And there is no doubt that home drug delivery is becoming more popular. With many cities covered with CCTV cameras, traditional street dealing is becoming less attractive to suppliers and consumers alike.




Easy access and higher purity are likely to lead to escalating use and harm amongst people. Speedy home shopping delivery is part our lives and represents the expansion and sophistication of retail markets around the world. In the same way that online shopping is leading to the decimation of many high streets, the online drugs trade may be putting many street dealers out of business.

Our findings show that illicit drugs like cocaine are just another commodity and that as with any competitive market place, a retailer with something to sell will look to maximise the purchase experience in order to gain a competitive edge over other suppliers.

Big online retailers know that reducing the time between purchase and delivery is good for business. It reinforces your shopping habits. In fact, it’s just like taking drugs – the quicker the onset of effect after consumption, the more addictive the drug. That’s why smoking and injecting (which transfer a drug to your brain in under 5 seconds) have the highest potential for addiction (think of tobacco, heroin and crack). And for many drugs – the idea that you would like to use drugs just arrives in the head (with cocaine often preceded by a few drinks) and that desire is one that aims to be sorted immediately!

Rapid delivery may lead some people to use more cocaine more often and, hence, more easily losing control over their use.

Home delivery of drugs thus not only challenges law enforcement but also potentially challenges harm reduction and health promotion initiatives. Easy access and higher purity are likely to lead to escalating use and harms among people with links to escalating rates of crime and violence in some major cities clearly present.

The relatively high price of cocaine in most countries may be the best available tool to help people control their use. 

In our cocaine pizza map below we show that same day cocaine delivery is the norm, while in many major cities, you really can get cocaine quicker than pizza. We’d love to extend the data on this map and also explore how fast access to cocaine might impact people’s drug use habits. So if you have had cocaine delivered to you in the last 12 months and want to add your story (especially if your city is not on the map) please take 3 minutes to tell us where you live and how long it takes you to get cocaine delivered. We’ll also ask you whether you think that the speed of delivery impacts upon your drug use.

More from GDS about how cocaine is making a comeback


Cocaine vs pizza delivery around the world