Imagine taking the boat out for a peaceful jaunt in the Sunshine State and admiring the cool blue waters of the Florida coast when suddenly you see something in the water. Is it a shark? Is it a rogue submarine? A large cohesive mass of seafaring garbage perhaps? Or could it be… 50 pounds of cocaine! Earlier this month, that’s exactly what happened, here’s the story!

Cocaine Found Along the Florida Coast

Someone reported a bale full of cocaine floating merrily in the water approximately 50 miles away from the Coconut Mallory Marina near Key West. After calling the authorities, the bale of cocaine was surrendered to Federal authorities. 

The bale contained 25 rectangle-shaped bricks of cocaine, weighing upwards of 50 pounds in total. Of course, this isn’t the first time that cocaine has been found floating off the Florida coast. The state of Florida has a long and storied history with cocaine that stretches back several decades. 

In December of 2021, another large package of cocaine was found in Florida waters near Islamorada in the Upper Keys. The boater that found it promptly reported their discovery of what turned out to be nearly $1 million worth of cocaine. 

If you’re wondering why the folks that have been finding these mysterious floating packages don’t just keep them, consider the possibility that the people who lost it are probably rather upset about it and might even want it back. Aside from that, keeping packages filled with cocaine for yourself would be illegal, which would be very wrong indeed. 

The Relationship Between Florida and Cocaine

With the surge of cocaine in America during the 1980s, Floridians were not immune to its harms, or its dangerous effects. Across the state, from small towns to big cities, local communities were affected by the arrival of this destructive drug. 

Although cocaine had been around for some time before that, the 1980s marked a sort of Golden Age for the stuff as Florida became targeted for its geographic advantages for criminal organizations looking to smuggle cocaine into the United States. One could argue that Florida in the 1980s was the Ellis Island of cocaine as it was the gateway for the drug’s entry into the United States of America.  

In response to the growing threat posed by cocaine, lawmakers steadily increased the punishments for smuggling cocaine into the country. President Ronald Reagan was particularly aggressive about it as he took the War on Drugs to new extremes, apparently, he hated the stuff. As a result, thousands of individuals have received lengthy prison sentences for possession or sale of relatively small amounts of cocaine — and many are still fighting their charges today. 

The History of Cocaine and its Use

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant derived from the coca plant, which is indigenous to South America. The substance has a long history of use, dating back to ancient times: in fact, the Incas chewed coca leaves and regarded them as sacred. Eventually, scientists began to investigate the plant’s potential medicinal uses. 

In the early 20th century, Sigmund Freud, the once widely-worshipped and now widely discredited psychologist once touted cocaine’s ability to cure a variety of mental disorders. As the substance became increasingly popular in the United States, though, scientists began to worry about its effects and found that it’s not so great after all. 

In 1906, the Pure Food and Drug Act was passed, requiring manufacturers to list any addictive substances in their products. Coca-Cola was among the first targeted by the law, and it soon removed the drug from its signature beverage as it had been producing the popular soft drink with various amounts of cocaine. Curiously, cocaine wasn’t fully eradicated from Coca-Cola drinks until around 1929.  

While Cocaine Hasn’t Been Winning Any Health Awards (Since Freud’s Day) Fentanyl Is Worse, and it’s Taking Florida by Storm

Although it’s impossible to argue that cocaine could be good for your health, especially when consumed in excessive amounts over long periods of time, fentanyl is worse, much worse. Sure, cocaine has its drawbacks like the dreaded and extremely unfashionable coke nose (the blistering is dreadful) fentanyl kills people. That’s not to say that cocaine isn’t potentially fatal, it’s just not as likely to be fatal. 

Cocaine wants you to stick around for a while and live it up until you completely ruin your life and find yourself with a bloody nose and an empty bank account. Fentanyl isn’t your friend, it doesn’t care if you die the first time you try it. That said, some enterprising geniuses decide to put fentanyl in cocaine which ruins the stuff and makes it much more dangerous to consume. 

Unfortunately, the drug trade doesn’t have an equivalent to the FDA, which also has plenty of flaws as it is. The lesson here? It’s best not to do hard drugs like cocaine or fentanyl at all. Everyone knows that many of them ignore the facts and do it anyway even though they really shouldn’t.

Surprise! The Governor of Florida Did Something Genuinely Useful!

A lot of people are upset with the Governor of Florida after he introduced a number of policies that put pressure on the LGBTQ+ community. He also outraged people with his position on abortion and immigration. 

Recently, however, he signed a bill that significantly increased the severity of punishments for drug dealers convicted of dealing fentanyl. If the drug results in a fatality, the drug dealer that sold the substance could be given a death sentence

The bill is meant to serve as a firm deterrent for anyone interested in selling potentially fatal drugs like fentanyl in the state of Florida. Keeping fentanyl out of the state can and will save lives. The only question is, will the bill actually work? Furthermore, will dealers just shrug their shoulders and abandon the fentanyl trade or will it drive the price up in accordance with the level of risk and make the drug even more profitable? This remains to be seen.