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UK police have started using ‘anti-cocaine spray’ in pub toilets

The spray, called Blokit, coats surfaces with a sticky film – ruining drugs and adding a bitter taste to lines sniffed from them

Just in time for the return of post-pandemic partying, UK police have begun using an “anti-cocaine spray” in an effort to stop people from snorting in pubs. 

According to its manufacturing company, the anti-drug spray, called Blokit, is supposed to cut down recreational drug use in venues by up to 90 per cent by coating surfaces with a sticky film which ruins drugs. If snorted off a sprayed surface – such as toilets, baby changing areas, or cisterns – lines will have a strong bitter taste which can last in a person’s mouth for hours.

Besides being used in over 600 cinemas, colleges, and libraries across the country, police in Darlington, England have started spraying down surfaces in 24 pubs where drug-sniffing dogs detected traces of cocaine. 

“Darlington is just like any other large town or city – people do take recreational drugs here, and we would be naive to think otherwise,” Sergeant Matt Plumb from the Darlington neighbourhood police team told The Telegraph. “The difference here is that we are doing something proactive to tackle it.”

He continued: “Cocaine and other recreational drugs don't just cause physical damage to the people who take it – it funds organised crime and can destroy communities in which these groups operate.”

While the spray seems to lessen drug usage, however, drug experts are unsure of its effectiveness. “Does anyone really snort off a cistern when they could just use a smartphone?” Guy Jones, senior scientist at drug testing organisation The Loop asked VICE. “Keys are so widely known as a cocaine dosing tool that they have become a slang unit of measure. Short of following people into the cubicle, I don’t see what pub landlords can be expected to do about people consuming such a popular drug.”

Besides disregarding the fact that users often snort lines from their credit cards, keys, and iPhones, the new procedures may also signify a “quick fix” for drug usage – suggesting lack of attention to the underlying issues surrounding drugs. According to VICE, the 60 bottles of Blokit and ‘Blokit anti drug deterrent spray in use on these premises’ posters purchased by the Darlington Borough Council cost just £650.

Paul Ward, the technical director at Blokit’s production company, Millwood Manufacturing, noted that the spray helps pubs prove to their landlords that they’re making an effort against drug usage. “Police sometimes swab pubs with cocaine wipes and if they come up positive they send a letter asking the pub owners what they are going to do about it,” he explained.

For now, Blokit is being trialled by a cleaning firm, which will spray cinemas in Wales and public libraries and toilets in Runcorn and Widnes in Cheshire. Halton Borough Council stopped using the spray after three months of trials.