I’m currently barricaded inside wearing three layers of clothing and contemplating (with absolute dread) venturing outside and trudging the (albeit three second) walk to the shop. It’s probably the first time I have seen this much snow and what a bizarre sight it is outside. I can assure you there is no shortage of mischief and mayhem. What with all this snow it seemed rather appropriate to talk about another white, powdery substance prone to causing mischief and mayhem on a much larger scale.

For a long time I’ve been pondering the drug connection and how it fits in with the information that is already available at this stage, it seems to me that drugs could certainly be involved in explaining what happened to Meredith Kercher that night and more importantly, why?

Let’s talk about weed/hash whatever you like to call it. Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito claim to have been smoking hashish all day and as a direct result of this could not remember precisely what happened the night Meredith was killed. Did they have sex? Didn’t they? I think he washed my ears. Something about fish (you get the picture). You’d be forgiven for wondering precisely what kind of magic bud they’d been smoking. If we believe (and I stress if) what Amanda and Raffaele have to say, it was magic bud so powerful it rendered them so unbelievably stoned they forgot their whereabouts and actions for most of the day and a whole evening. This is especially convenient when the whereabouts and actions of said users happened to include a suspicion of murder. If like me you made above assertion you’d also be forgiven for wondering where on earth you could by some of this magic cop-out bud as surely, having retained it’s awesome power you could rule the world safe in the knowledge that the magic cop-out bud would save you from accepting responsibility for your actions.

We all know the magic cop-out bud does not exist.

Some people (like me) might have wondered what the difference between marijuana and hashish is and what implications this could have for current theories of what happened that night. I did a little bit of reading and discovered to my surprise that hashish is just cannabis resin (not some weird bush weed like I’d previously thought) and as with marijuana, the active ingredient is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The effect sought when smoking hashish is euphoria and a feeling of wellbeing or elation, this is usually accompanied by a state of altered perception, particularly of distance and time. The euphoric feeling associated with smoking hashish usually peaks within ten to thirty minutes of smoking, but residual effects may last up to three hours.

In other words it is no different to marijuana and has absolutely no effect or implication whatsoever on current theories of what happened that night. It’s a total cop out, akin to ‘the voices made me do it’ or ‘it was self defense’.

I’m not a big fan of marijuana, though I have plenty of friends who use it regularly and can categorically state that I have never seen or even heard of any violent encounter or total memory blackout associated with users of marijuana or hash. I am well aware of the limitations of making outrageous ‘well I’ve never seen it so it can’t be happening’ statements so I’d also like to point out that this is not supported by any evidence we have about the way THC works and the effect it produces. It is certainly true that there is a suggested link between prolonged and extensive use of marijuana and mental health problems in later life but we must remember that the person who may be experiencing these mental health difficulties could already be predisposed to them genetically and that they are quite rare.

In short the chances of Amanda and Raffaele actually locating some magic cop-out bud, smoking enough of it to induce a memory blackout whilst simultaneously going on a murderous rampage are about as credible as the lone wolf theory

I don’t think anyone ever seriously considered that hashish could be an explanation for what happened that night or even that it was involved to the extent that the defendants claim. There is in short no real evidence to suggest that this particular drug could explain the unique set of circumstances that led to the escalation of violence in the house that night.

There is however another drug that could quite easily slip in and fill the shoes of it’s likely contemporary. Cocaine.

Cocaine is a very powerful, dangerous and highly addictive drug. It is most commonly snorted but through various methods of cooking or altering it’s basic structure can be injected or smoked. It produces a feeling of euphoria, increased confidence, a rapid heart beat, raises the temperature of the body and makes users feel wide awake. The effects usually last no longer than 20-30 minutes often leaving the user with intense cravings for more. An article I recently read indicated several associations between cocaine and violence the authors noted that the level of violence was not directly related to the method of ingestion. The authors also indicated that cocaine users as a group were more violent than non-users, this was true for both men and women.

I’m well aware that speculating ahead of the evidence is both dangerous and potentially unfair to the defendants. However in the next few paragraphs I hope to put forward a fairly credible argument as to why I think cocaine was involved in what happened the night Meredith was killed.

1.)It is highly likely that the defendants had been exposed to or could easily access cocaine.

I have read that Rudy Guede had been seen ‘out of his head’ on cocaine in and around Perugia and that Knox has claimed Sollecito had admitted to using LSD and cocaine in the past. Despite it’s class A status and the dangers of taking it widely reported, cocaine is a fairly socially acceptable drug especially amongst younger and more affluent people who may associate it with a glamorous party lifestyle. It has been reported that up to one in four young people have tried cocaine and the seemingly massive rise of the drug has been reported in the UK, the US and across Europe. Perugia would be no exception, indeed the larger student spending power and it’s reputation as a party town would make it ideal for cocaine to flourish. It would certainly be no stretch to imagine that Amanda had been exposed to cocaine at some point. Firstly we have the allegations of wild parties back in the US with drink and drugs seemingly everywhere, then the association with two people who have in the past been seen or could reasonably have access to cocaine and finally the location of the town with it’s reputation for good parties. Looks like a good recipe for potential cocaine use.

2.)The defendants have admitted drug use and have associations with a known drug dealer.

From a psychology point of view it is fairly significant that both defendants have openly admitted their own drug use as drug use implies a dealer. They could have blamed alcohol which would have been much more credible for the blackout theory, but I believe they knew the link with Guede would eventually be made and hence the link with drugs. Guede has been arrested for possession of drugs and was known as a small time drug dealer, it does seem that he fell afoul of the golden rule ‘never get high off your own supply’ from time to time which could explain his financial woes. It would be fairly safe to say that Guede would have had no difficulty finding cocaine and no moral problem selling it.

3.)Research suggests a link between cocaine and violence

There is a great deal of evidence that suggests a link between cocaine and violence. People have been shot, stabbed, glassed, beaten up, raped and sexually assaulted, you name it cocaine has been associated with it at some point. I dislike the prosecutions premeditated ‘they were inspired by manga, blood lust and Satan and decided to break up the monotony of the evening by raping and killing Meredith’ theory. I do not believe that three people with no history of violence would premeditate a murder as gruesome and completely bungled as this. The defendants would more likely to break up the monotony of a boring evening by having a few lines of cocaine than to plan and execute a murder based on ‘Blood: The Last Vampire’. Remember not all users of cocaine are addicted. I’ve known many people who can quite happily have a line or two at the weekend and not touch it again for months. It’s perfectly credible that Amanda and Raffaele could have found their dealer (Guede) and invited him round to the cottage where Amanda knew there would be money in Meredith’s drawer.

4.)Meredith’s missing money.

I expect people have made the link between the €250 rent money that went missing from Meredith’s drawer and drugs. It would be fair to assume that as Amanda and Raffaele had both admitted to smoking hash and Guede was a drug dealer that the money was spent on hash. €250 would buy you a hell of a lot of hash! Nobody knows who took the money but it could certainly buy you enough cocaine to have a fairly good party. Cocaine is predominantly taken in groups as it is used to enhance users social experiences and is also very expensive. The going rate for a gram of cocaine in the UK is roughly £40 ($57 or €51) and I can’t imagine with the current demand and popularity of the drug that it would dramatically differ in Perugia the missing money could well have paid for several grams of cocaine. Meredith may have arrived back at the cottage and having found the money missing and realized what was going on (quite rightly) been very angry and may have called Amanda a ‘drugged up tart’. The actions of a group of young people high on cocaine would be very different to the actions of a group sober, this pack mentality may have caused a diffusion of responsibility amongst the attackers and a kind of gang attack ensued with Meredith unable to fight them off.

5.)It disappears from the body quickly

I would be very interested to know whether or not Amanda, Raffaele and Rudy were drug tested or whether the general apartment and in particular, credit cards, keys (any kind of sharp flat surface which could be used to cut or snort a line) was swabbed for traces of cocaine (maybe even the knife itself). Depending on the method of ingestion and amount ingested traces of cocaine in the body usually disappear in a couple of days, sometimes even the following day.

6.)Sexual dysfunction and physiological effects I won’t go into the details of Meredith’s brutal sexual assault but it seems clear that whoever started to assault Meredith did not finish the act (or couldn’t). Cocaine and sexual dysfunction (including inorgasmia) are linked as is the stimulation of the nervous system and the resulting effect on the digestive system which makes a lot of people who use cocaine need the toilet.

The cocaine theory could in a way help to explain the sudden onset of a ‘pack’ mentality that I believe killed Meredith and it could certainly explain the escalation of violence in three people with no history of violence at all. I have seen very little discussion on this idea so far yet it seems fairly credible, far more so than the ‘magic cop out bud’ anyway 😉