The purity of cocaine has reached its highest level in over a decade. And it is everywhere right now. “Nose candy” is currently so available and so sought after, that in some places, you can call your dealer, make an order and get a snowball delivered to your front door faster than a pizza.

Welcome to the future.

The purity of coke started its steady rise in 2010, studies indicate, a trend that has neither tapered nor slowed down in the eight years since. Today, the stuff street suppliers are slinging is sterling; it’s high quality product that would have filled Pablo Escobar, himself, with pride.

Somewhere, deep in the jungles of South America, coke producers are stepping their game up.

But why? What’s behind this strange surge in quality? And what does it mean?

As to the why, it’s complicated. It has a lot to do with diversification and growth in supply countries (like Colombia), transportation routes and smuggling methods. But, many believe that it was also amplified by the European police crackdown on cutting agents, like benzocaine, phenacetin and chloroquine. By removing these kinds of bulking agents from their product, producers limited their risk of detection when importing cocaine into the EU, while also increasing its quality.

An unintended consequence, surely, but one that only narcs are complaining about.

Really, though, the major factor here likely has more to do with a re-marketing scheme. By offering several tiers of quality with corresponding tiers of price, instead of just a singular product, cartels fundamentally changed cocaine from a unitary product, to a diverse one with choices and options for different budgets and preferences. They started producing and selling low-, mid-, and high-quality blow, and the demand increased nearly worldwide.

Strangely, while both supply and demand for good cocaine has started to climb, the price has remained relatively stable, according to market analysts – making high quality coke more accessible to more demographics, socially and economically.

It is a favorite party drug among both the rich and powerful and destitute degenerates. Everybody loves cocaine. And, in these strange times, everybody can get access to the good stuff.

That’s a double-edged sword, though. On the one hand, it’s always good to have high quality drugs. If you’re going to take something, it’s probably best to make sure that it isn’t cut with a bunch of mystery. Plus, higher quality coke gives you a higher quality buzz, gets you higher with less, and just generally feels cleaner. On the other hand, higher quality cocaine almost always results in an uptick in emergency room visits. And this current situation is no exception. In the UK (where cocaine use is ramping up to pandemic proportions) cocaine related hospital visits spiked by more than a fifth between 2014-16 – correlating exactly with this rise in purity.

It may seem counter intuitive, but higher quality cocaine can be even more dangerous than its substandard alternatives. Simply because it’s better. Purer cocaine is more powerful (which can result in hospitalization) lends itself to greater use (which can result in hospitalization), greater use lends itself to addiction (which can lead to hospitalization), and addiction lends itself to higher tolerance rates, which means you need more coke to achieve the same effect (which… well, you get the picture).

So be careful out there. This is a good time to flirt with some pearl – but it’s also a dangerous one. It requires self-control, will power, and clear judgement if you want to partake safely… none of which are side effects of good cocaine.