Guys, brace yourselves… you’re about to lose faith in humanity. That is, if 2020 hasn’t already done that for you. This morning, we came across a bit of information that may make face palm so badly you actually knock yourself out. People think cocaine kills coronavirus.
Searching an exquisite tool known as Google Trends, which tells you exactly what people are searching for on Google most, we found that both ‘cocaine kills coronavirus’ and ‘cocaine coronavirus’ are breakout search terms. Essentially, that means people are genuinely searching for whether or not snorting the old white powder will kill the deadly virus currently ruining our lives.
With searches peaking at the beginning of February, it’s clearly a months old rumour. So why is it still trending on Google? Well, perhaps it’s the droves of Covid-myths that have run amuck in recent months with none other than Donald Trump dubbed the world’s biggest instigator of coronavirus conspiracy theories.
When the president of one of the most powerful countries in the world can spread myths about ingesting bleach curing coronavirus and various other bits of misinformation, it’s no surprise that at least some people could believe a substance like cocaine - which, when snorted, can feel like it’s killed every living bacteria in your nose - may have an impact on the virus. Hey, at one time people even thought alcohol could cure coronavirus. In fact, in April, over 700 people died in Iran after ingesting ‘toxic methanol, erroneously thinking it can cure the new coronavirus’, according to Al Jazeera.
A lot of students are doing more of it now because of the second wave.
'I did coke for four years and never had a cold or flu,' says Chris, a former cocaine user from Hereford. 'Most viruses thrive at the back of the nose and throat so I guessed that the coke killed viruses or swept them through. I haven’t heard the theory before [that cocaine kills coronavirus] but I think it could work.'
For John*, a drug dealer from Liverpool, he believes the rumour could play a part in an uptake in business as we coronavirus cases increase around the UK.
‘I’ve heard about people who think coke kills coronavirus but I haven’t met anyone yet who has had coronavirus and thinks they’ve definitely been cured from it,’ he says. ‘A lot of students are doing more of it now because of the second wave, if anyone’s going to believe that it will be a student.’
But why would anyone actually believe that cocaine kills not just coronavirus, but any virus that lives at back of your throat or nose? Perhaps it’s the fact that 80% of the cocaine bought at street-level is filler material, with toxic substances like rat poison even used to dilute the product, that convinces people there must be something in there that would kill a virus. Or, the commonly used benzoylmethylecgonine, which often causes numbness in the back of your throat, that could make people feel symptoms of a viral infection less powerfully and perhaps convince them it’s doing some good.
For those that use cocaine regularly though, that seems counterintuitive. ‘I don’t know anyone that genuinely believes cocaine would kill coronavirus, if they say they do it’s probably just as an excuse to justify doing as much as they can,’ says Lily*, who occasionally uses cocaine when socialising. ‘If anything, it makes your nose feel stuffy and horrible the next day so I can’t imagine anyone would feel “cured” if they took it when they already felt ill.’
So, does cocaine kill coronavirus?
For Dr. Luke Kane, an NHS GP based in London, the suggestion is not just ludicrous, but quite terrifying. ‘There is absolutely no evidence to suggest cocaine use protects you against coronavirus infection,’ he told Grazia. ‘Using cocaine to reduce your Covid risk would be totally counter-productive as there are serious health risks associated with using cocaine.’
Well, there you have it then folks. If you were ever in doubt, cocaine does not kill coronavirus. You’ll have to find another reason to justify your at-home cocaine usage. Now to try and find a cure for the harrowing spread of coronavirus misinformation…
*names have been changed