When a party drug dealer from Bristol, southwest England, bought a kilo of MDMA for £3,500 in readiness for the post-lockdown party season, he noticed it looked different from his usual powder.
So before selling it he decided to investigate. A reagent test revealed that whatever it was, it was not MDMA. He sent a sample off to Energy Control, a lab in Spain which tests batches of drugs to determine what they are.
Three weeks later, he was told that he had in fact bought a kilo of 4-CMC, a cathinone similar to mephedrone, which in large doses can cause hypertension, pains in the chest, tachycardia, fear, aggression, agitation, psychoses, hallucinations, and sleeplessness.
The chemical, used as a replacement for MDMA which some drug makers are finding hard to source at the moment, has been popping up in pills and powder sold as MDMA in Manchester in the last few weeks.
So on Friday, in the wake of two clubbers’ deaths after taking drugs sold as MDMA since nightclubs in England opened up again, and in an effort to encourage more dealers to test their drugs before selling them, the dealer decided to destroy his stash. In footage obtained by VICE World News, he can be seen throwing it in a bin, soaking it in bleach and disposing of it in a place where he said no-one will ever find it.
“Police love to say they took X-amount of dangerous drugs off the streets, but this time it was me,” the dealer told VICE World News, speaking on the condition of anonymity to avoid arrest.
“Unfortunately, since all our business is done in secret, there’s no trading standards. There’s a lot of conflicting information on the internet about how safe 4-CMC actually is, so I just thought, I’d rather destroy it than sell it.”
The dealer prepares to destroy his stash. Photo: Ant Lehane
In the UK, unknown samples can be sent to Wedinos in Wales, and reagent kits can be bought online. At some festivals, drug harm reduction charity The Loop has set up tents where you can test your drugs for free, and dispose of them after if they contain a nasty surprise.
“At least if we know it’s MDMA we know what we are dealing with. I’d rather my fellow ravers live to dance another day than me just making loads of money.”
The dealer said that MDMA can itself be dangerous, because it’s tricky to know how potent each pill or baggy is. “People using the drug need to take it easy, and take small doses, such as a quarter of a pill, to test it out and wait for the effects.”