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NASA Crime Science

Cocaine Found At Kennedy Space Center 276

An anonymous reader writes "For the second time in the last two years, a stash of cocaine has been found at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. 4.2 grams of the a powdery white substance were discovered on March 7, and field tests by law enforcement officials confirmed that it was indeed cocaine. A spokesperson was unable to provide additional details about where the substance was found, or how many employees and contractors are now being drug tested. An investigation into a similar discovery in January 2010 yields no results after all 200 NASA employees and contractors who had access to the area in which the cocaine was found tested negative for the drug."
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Cocaine Found At Kennedy Space Center

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @10:27PM (#35499454)

    And I'm gonna be hiiiiiiiiighhh, as a kite by then.

  • Anybody else remember Richard Pryor and the "dollar and fifty cents worth of cocaine"?
    • Where I live, that's like $350 worth of cocaine.
      Seems like enough for 1 or 2 Astronauts for a weekend in space.
      Drugs make me paranoid and talkative on earth. I think that outer space might just be a little too much.
      "Discovery, this is Kennedy. Please shut up now."

      • Holy shit, where do you live? I'm heading up from Florida right now!

        • 1 ounce = 28.3495231 grams
          4.2 grams is just more than an eightball.
          Now, it's been a few years, but I don't recall an 8ball ever costing more than $300.
          So, 1 paper bindle just big enough to ruin your night or get you back stage but not Tony Montoya big.

  • by Binky_the_Zakalwe ( 1986486 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @10:28PM (#35499476)
    This shows a clear need for TSA screenings of all astronauts prior boarding.
  • I was under the impression there are a lot of high-functioning professionals secretly addicted to cocaine because it doesn't adversely affect your performance short-term like, say, alcohol does. True or false?
    • by larry bagina ( 561269 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @10:47PM (#35499612) Journal
      It really depends on the person. Somewhere between 10-25% of coke/meth users don't get addicted and use it to self-medicate their ADHD or similar problems.

      If you look at the history, cocaine wasn't banned because it was dangerous (back in the day, most housewives were taking it via mystery medicines). It was banned because people were afraid coked up negroes would rape their white women. It still has medical uses and is occasionally prescribed today.

      • You got that kinda right. People START using it, because they self medicate. They are the most likely to get addicted, because the shit works. I'd say almost all day, to different levels (Full disclosure, I've had my fun with both, and have ADD)
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Using cocaine to medicate ADHD? Isn't that like using gasoline to fight a house fire?

      • You are correct, except perhaps for meth. The amphetamine family, for sure, but if I understand correctly, the "meth" part of methamphetamine changes the drug to skew away from people seeking self-medication. I also think it's far too addictive to say anyone can self medicate with it.

        However, nearly all stimulants are used to self medicate ADHD. From nicotine, to caffeine, to sugar, marijuana, and cocaine, it isn't terribly unusual for someone to have found something that works for them.

        I am aware that

    • Cocaine does have the virtue of being a stimulant, so it will make you more alert, and whatever stupid mistakes it may induce will be pretty similar to the ones all your coffee-and-sleep-deprivation coworkers will be committing.

      I suspect that its lack of telltale smell is a fairly large factor, though: A fair few alcoholics will(outside of formal reflex tests, or high precision machinery operation) barely feel the first few drinks. Even a single shot of something with no added scent(ie. vodka, rather tha
    • Stimulants and the Air Force (and probably NASA) go hand and hand. The Air Force has been using dextro-amphetamine pretty much since the beginning. Cocaine is slightly different, but it doesn't last very long and it distorts your perceptions more. It's not the sort of thing that you would really want someone working under the influence of, though I'd say it probably a lot less problematic then alcohol. I could see a person that was desensitized to dextro moving up to blow.

      Maybe one of the flyboys wanted
  • by SJHillman ( 1966756 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @10:33PM (#35499502)
    It's the only way they could get anywhere high on the budget Congress gave them
  • Fly high my high...

  • 4.2 grams? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Weaselmancer ( 533834 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @10:49PM (#35499632)

    The actual amount was probably about 2 pounds. You know how bad NASA is at imperial to metric conversion.

  • I, for one... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @10:50PM (#35499644) Journal
    I am utterly shocked that a facility with a large concentration of people exposed to deadline pressures might be found to contain an alertness-enhancing recreational alkaloid stronger than caffeine...

    That goes double if the NASA employee population skews a little older: children raised during/after Prozac and Ritalin became mainstream would be somewhat more likely to be expected to use some mixture of Provigil and one of the common prescription amphetamines for a mood and alertness boost, while powder cocaine is a venerable classic.
    • Re:I, for one... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jandersen ( 462034 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @05:10AM (#35501298)

      I am utterly shocked that a facility with a large concentration of people exposed to deadline pressures might be found to contain an alertness-enhancing recreational alkaloid stronger than caffeine...

      The problem with cocaine is that it can have some rather devastating effects of your body - which isn't a good idea when you are out there, where not only you, but others depend with their lives on you.

      On the other hand, isn't it becoming more and more clear that using recreational drugs is something people in general want to do? IMO, it would be a lot better if those in power recognised this and decided to allow the development and marketing of a set of drugs that offer what peolpe want with the lowest possible risk - and with clear, well thought-out guidelines about how to use them. It might even be possible to develop drugs that you could "switch off" quickly if you got into a situation where this was necessary.

      • I doubt that the mission crews themselves can get away with it(and, were alertness aids needed, they'd probably just prescribe them amphetamines as the Air Force does); but I agree that having somebody in the position to fuck things up, even on the ground, doing lines to make deadlines is probably not the best of ideas. I'm just not at all surprised that people would be doing it anyway.
      • by Velex ( 120469 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @08:10AM (#35502146) Journal

        When Grandma down the street and that crazy guy whose kids won't talk to him anymore because of his batshit religious beliefs are the only ones who honestly believe in this superstitious delineation between "good" drugs (like celexa/paxil/prozac/caffeine/tobacco/alcohol) and "bad" bad drugs (like marihuana/cocaine (Freud used cocaine from what I understand)/psilocybin/salvia/exctacy (which was designed to be used in a clinical setting, only reason it's illegal is because it was being used on the street before FDA approval, so that ironically got it scheduled instead of approved, since anything that's used on the street can't possibly have any redeeming value))....

        Anyway, it's a show of power, plain and simple. It's no different than the book burnings of old. It's a show of power. Big pharma would lose TONS if marihuana were accessible. We have medical marihuana here in Michigan, but from what I understand it's still a boondoggle, and the way the law is written, you have to find your own dealer and buy on the black market anyway, and law or no law, the feds can still go after you if they wanted.

        Unfortunately, not enough voters in California got off their asses to legalize marihuana there (I know someone like that--wholeheartedly thinks marihuana should be legal, but couldn't get his ass to the polling station to vote, and if I could reach through the internet, he'd have black eye). So now we have to listen to shit from the right like, "See, the AMERICAN people don't want to legalize marihuana! See! See!"

        This country isn't a fascism yet, but nothing will change if nobody votes for their principles.

        • Big pharma would lose TONS if marihuana were accessible.

          Err, dude, big pharma would make an absolute killing if these sorts of recreational drugs were legal. Who do you think would be making them?

  • Someone is fscking with them..
  • I wonder if it has anything to do with the worker that fell the other day?
  • by Demonantis ( 1340557 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @10:54PM (#35499672)
    If you are testing them now and they have any common sense it is going to be long gone from their system. The only drug that has a chance of being found would be pot. The metabolites can stay in the body for a month. Never mind the fact that people try to thwart the test as best they can.
  • Has anyone said "space dust" yet? There's a joke in that somewhere.

  • by dFaust ( 546790 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @11:11PM (#35499786)
    Why is the assumption that the employees are themselves using cocaine? CLEARLY they're taking the coke to space. To sell to aliens. Sheesh.
  • Why do you think the aliens always do the anal probing?
  • DUh! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ozlanthos ( 1172125 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @11:24PM (#35499868)
    Someone who has it together enough to work at NASA doesn't have such a terribly bad habit that they are going to test dirty....Not going to happen. Although, if they'd found a bag of Cannabis, it would be a different story. The truth is that the only drug that you can detect more than 72 hours after total seccation of use via urine tests is Cannabis. THC can store in your fat for up to months after chronic use. Now, if they were really serious about busting the perp, they'd administer a hair test! Of course the cape would go dark for lack of employees shortly thereafter, but they'd have fired the idiot who left the stash....

    • by syousef ( 465911 )

      Someone who has it together enough to work at NASA doesn't have such a terribly bad habit that they are going to test dirty....

      Astronauts can lose the plot too. Just look at that crazy one that put on a nappy, drove across the country with rubber tubing and tape and wanted to get her ex boyfriend's new girlfriend.

    • by binkzz ( 779594 )

      Now, if they were really serious about busting the perp, they'd administer a hair test! Of course the cape would go dark for lack of employees shortly thereafter

      I'm thinking the Captain Picard look would pick up quickly among NASA employees.

    • I was under the impression that certain narcotic based drugs can take 10-30 days to completely clear the system after chronic use, whether prescribed or otherwise. Am I misinformed?
  • “This is Major Tom to Ground Control
    I’m stepping through the door
    And I’m floating in a most peculiar way
    And the stars look very different today

    For here
    am I sitting in my tin can
    Far above the world
    Planet Earth is blue
    And there’s nothing I can do
    Though I’m past one hundred thousand miles
    I’m feeling very still
    And I think my spaceship knows which way to go
    Tell my wife I love her very much (she knows!)
    Ground Control to Major Tom
    Your circuit’s dead, there
  • by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @11:29PM (#35499904)

    Thousands of people work at Kenned Space Center - wouldn't it be more surprising if no drugs were ever found there?

    • by asylumx ( 881307 )
      Not to mention that thousands more visit every day... No, I don't think this is news either. I said as much when i saw it on CNN earlier and now seeing it on Slashdot... in the SCIENCE section and not in Idle? WTF?
    • Agreed, it's unjust bad news. Don't doubt many other companies, non profit, commercial and private, have this issue come up.

  • Cocaine use is all over the place. Poor, wealthy, young, old - on-the-job use permeates every industry and every culture. The only time it really makes any difference is when someone gets caught with some in their pocket, or someone who lacks self-control fucks up their life with too much of it. There are a lot of ways to fuck up your life, but most of them aren't illegal.
  • Any idea what a gram of coke is worth in orbit? If you think running stuff up from Mexico is lucrative, just imagine supplying the ISS.

    How long does that stuff keep? Maybe the cartels have a secret deal to piggyback some on shuttles, and stash it in LEO.

    Running coke to Mars, just imagine!

    And then the Mars Colony Authority will be doing everything they can to get Earth to control the growers, to no avail.

  • by seifried ( 12921 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @12:06AM (#35500114) Homepage
    According to Wikipedia: Employees: 13,500 (2008) ( []). The national US average of cocaine us is reported as 0.5% or higher (multiple sources but the low end says around 1.5 million users in the US, assuming they are mostly adults that's at least 0.5%, probably more), so statistically speaking that's about 67.5 (assuming one of then only uses one nostril my numbers work =)cocaine users at the Kennedy Space Center.
  • Damn smugglers. When cargo boats wouldn't do it, they got jet boats. Then they started using planes. Then submarines. How the hell is the Coast Guard supposed to interdict the shuttles or especially the Russian Soyuz capsules? ;-)

  • by michaelmalak ( 91262 ) <> on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @12:30AM (#35500268) Homepage
    It wasn't cocaine. It was Ketracel White
  • Maybe the Space Shuttle brought back a little bit of Hunter S. Thompson's remains - which are mainly cocaine.
  • They shouldn't have "tested everyone with access to the area".

    Police should have covertly affixed tracking devices in the bag, put it back right where they got it, and waited until someone collected the bag.

  • I had an eye exam today, and would test positive for cocaine from the eye dilation drops. I eat poppy seed bagels and thus might test positive for opiates. And so on. People who are subject to those tests must live in constant fear.
  • Of course the LAST time this happened everyone tested negative, it's amazing that drugs would magically show up somewhere that no one actually uses drugs.

    "An investigation into a similar discovery in January 2010 yields no results after all 200 NASA employees and contractors who had access to the area in which the cocaine was found tested negative for the drug."

    I guess they will keep trying to discredit NASA till they figure out some way to actually do it.
    I wonder when the last time a politician and his "en

  • Most likely because cocaine is out of your system within approx. 72 hours for light to medium users [] in urine tests. Unless they were a huge coke head, or they happened to find that coke and test the people within that 72 hours, they wouldn't be testing positive. It would be hard to catch someone with a drug test for a light coke habit, especially if they had just lost 4.2g of blow and the investigation before the drug testing took a couple weeks...unless they were doing hair follicle tests. In which case th
  • I just like the way it smells. :-)

  • only 2 real scenarios that my feeble mind can comprehend from this.

    1 - someone dislikes the NASA program, enters Space center .. places bag at nice sorta easy place to be found .. bam, discredit.
    2 - astronaut wants to take some coke to space, as he/she cannot stand sleeping in space (is that a pun?), or having the latest Russian/American/(insert country here, really) creep watch you sleep. at the last second before take off .. said astronaut loses nerve, ditches the drug, hops on the shuttle .. and heads in

  • It's a right-wing plot trying to discredit NASA and divert funds to really important stuff like, ya know, empire-building, fighting piracy and fattening the wallets of Halliburton and Big Media cronies.

  • Let me guess, they found it in the transmitter compartment? [] []

  • When did NASA hire Cheech & Chong? []

  • 4.2 grams is a "Stash"? lol
  • A guy had an accident, so obviously, obviously he was hopped up on goof-balls. Because accidents don't happen on their own. And because all drug users are all stupid enough to get high 5 minutes before working. Oh, and while I'm at it, let's not forget that, you know, that stuff that gets you high (or used to when you first started taking it, but now you're so hopelessly addicted that you might suffer seizures or a psychopathic episode if you don't wean yourself off of it under a doctor's supervision) ca

  • Everyone will get tested, and no one will bust, so it must belong to the guy that fell, and yes that must be the reason he fell, he was we are all off the hook, ok, back to work people, we have mission launches to worry about sick, I hope it is just my imagination running wild, but if this ends up being their cover, I have to say CSI wants their episodes back....

  • in all seriousness though cocaine does not stay in the body that long, so my guess is they would never find this casual user base on how long it typically take to go through all the employees during the drug test

  • ...Major Tom's a junkie.
  • How many people work there, several thousands? So, it's not much of a surprise that there are some drug consumers among them. And only such a little amount, if it had been 4.2 kg, I'd understand why this made it into the news, but 4.2 g? That doesn't survive a weekend with buddies and some girls.

MESSAGE ACKNOWLEDGED -- The Pershing II missiles have been launched.