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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Cocaine: Hidden in Plain Sight

SKIING on the beach tomorrow?”

“Late-night ski lift looking for a snow bunny.”

“Where are the cool Brooklyn ski bums? I’ve got tons to share.”

“Take a ride on the snow train.”

The come-ons in the Casual Encounters section of Craigslist last week — or any week — are as plentiful as they are obvious (and cheesy). Using a variety of euphemisms that have been around since Jay McInerney wrote about Bolivian Marching Powder, posters invite others to join them for a line or a lost weekend fueled by cocaine.

The cheeky openness of these ads is hardly anomalous. While cocaine and drug abuse seem to have faded from the headlines, with coverage limited to the not-so-veiled references surrounding the exploits of waifish celebrities, it is still very much a part of the social scene, especially in New York.

Evidence of that is popping up in music, television and even theater. Indeed, for a generation that has not had its John Belushi to drive home the dangers of drug abuse, references and even use are open, casual, even blatant.

“You do see it,” said Noel Ashman, an owner of the Plumm, a hotspot near the meatpacking district. “We’re pretty tight at the club with drug use, whenever we see it we kick it right out. But it has popped up more than it did five years ago.”

And like the red flash of a Louboutin pump, it is easy to spot.

“It’s definitely prevalent in clubs, bars, parties — everywhere, basically,” said Cristiano Andrade, 26, a Brooklynite who manages a wine shop and goes out in the city once or twice a week.

Drug-abuse experts say the blasé attitude toward cocaine use is a result of “generational amnesia.”

Read the rest of the article here NY TIMES