Coke consumption in Hamburg bars is taking on drastic proportions. There can no longer be any talk of a marginal phenomenon. Since guests’ drug use also brings advantages for restaurateurs, they are now in a dilemma.

A bar somewhere in Hamburg. It’s Friday evening, and for most guests the weekend has just begun. The mood is correspondingly exuberant. People drink, laugh, smooch – and do coke. Again and again.

Restaurant owners tell MOPO that it is no longer a marginal phenomenon. The drug is omnipresent, both among guests and staff. The landlords are in a dilemma: coke addicts bring problems with them, but also a lot of money.

“The consumption sucks,” says a bar operator from Ottensen angrily. “We actually need a bouncer in front of the toilet, as often as people do coke there.” In his opinion, drug consumption has increased noticeably since the end of the corona pandemic. In the store, this is evident in the constantly occupied toilet cubicles where consumers retreat to snort the drug together.

The next morning, his employees would regularly find consumer utensils such as drawing tubes there. Although most of his guests could handle the intoxication, the nervous and tense nature of the coke users was obvious. “It used to be people with money, but now everyone does coke.” One of his employees was even given a bag of the white powder as a “tip.”

The restaurateur feels left alone with the problem: “One quickly becomes suspected of tolerating drug use.” Landlords like him find themselves in a dilemma. Because cocaine makes you euphoric, keeps you awake and uninhibited. It also masks the effects of the alcohol. The result: Guests on coke drink more, stay longer – and thus increase sales.

But the cheerful customers also lead to problems, reports a restaurateur couple from Eimsbüttel: “People are often extremely stressful because they overestimate themselves and quickly become aggressive.” This is an ongoing issue – even among the staff: “ There has always been a lot of consumption behind the counter and in the kitchen in the catering industry.”

Another bar operator from Ottensen describes something similar: “Three quarters of my employees do coke. “That has increased dramatically.” You can have the drug delivered to your pub by courier within an hour. “I can tell you a thing or two about that.” A landlord in the Schanze, on the other hand, doesn’t notice any abnormalities: “My team looks for everything possible, including traces of cocaine use.” But clues are only found sporadically.

The police are reticent to provide information about their control behavior in the catering industry. According to a spokesman, no further information can be provided about searches of locations in connection with drug-related crimes for investigative reasons.

A high school graduate who waits in a trendy restaurant in one of Hamburg’s “better” areas is surprised by the level of consumption she encounters in her everyday work: “The chefs both do coke regularly, probably because of the stress. One is discreet, the other I’ve seen pulling a nose before.”

It’s also noticeable with the guests: “At some point you start to notice whether someone is constantly turning up their nose because they have a cold or because they’re doing coke.” Guests who stare at you with huge pupils, who come back from the toilet in a state of excitement and text you : “It’s also clear what they did.”

For consumers, the worst case scenario is that highs end in the emergency room. Cocaine puts a lot of strain on the circulatory system, and its disinhibiting effect increases the risk of accidents. Overdoses and psychosis also occur again and again.

But it is difficult to quantify exactly how many there are, says a spokesperson for the Asklepios clinics. There is no reliable data on this – but the doctors treating the patients have a gut feeling: “It feels like the number of intoxicated patients has increased, a senior physician told me.” In St. Georg Hospital alone, there are an average of eight to ten patients per day.

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The original for this article “Restaurateur angry about drug problem in Hamburg bars: “Everyone does coke these days”” comes from Mopo.