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Cocaine – the drink – goes on sale

A controversial energy drink called Cocaine, marketed as 'The legal alternative' to the drug, was on sale yesterday, despite pledges by Keith Vaz, the chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee to halt its arrival in the UK.

Mr Vaz said: "It's totally irresponsible and I'd like to see the Environment department take action... to stop the company."

While the drink contains no cocaine, anti-drug campaigners are furious that the product has been allowed on the market. Martin Barnes, the chief executive of DrugScope, said: "This is a provocative and cynical marketing exercise. I'm sure the majority of young people will see the branding ploy for what it is, but making light of an illegal drug that can cause significant harm is not helpful."

The drink contains 350 per cent more caffeine than a can of Red Bull as well as banned amino acids, and has caused an outcry from health experts who believe it could be dangerous.

The UK distributor, Shakti wholesalers, is supplying independent newsagents and off-licences.