Remember that time the drugs didn't work? Here's why.
Photo: Andrew Russeth / CC by 2.0 license, via
I was in a Chinatown karaoke bar when I saw flashes through the square window on our door. Curious, I walked outside to find a Korean exchange student had overdosed on bad MD caps. An ambulance had been called.
As a person who has known their share of dealers, I know how bad MD caps come about. They come about because regardless of whether they're from cartel royalty or a lone wolf on a street corner, the drug game is all about maximising profits and lowering costs. That's the foundation of the issue. The next is that drug dealers are all cut from a similar socioeconomic cloth. They're ruthless and violent, and if they see an opportunity to cut corners they won't lose sleep if it puts a customer in hospital. And in this way drug dealers are all the same, while their products keep changing.
After speaking to several users, I've found that most people feel safer buying their drugs from anonymous sources on the dark web where rating systems ensure quality and minimise danger. Given that, it seems street dealers are losing business, so I was curious to speak to a few and get their thoughts. Why is the state of street level dealing still so desperate? And what's the worst cutting agent they've used? And why the fuck did they use that?
VICE: Hey Yianni, tell us about some of the worst stuff you've mixed into your coke?
Yianni: I've rolled speed into a really fine powder before and put a tiny bit in an ounce bag, a few points usually. But believe it or not, when I stopped adding speed some people started to complain so I replaced it with a couple of grams of caffeine per ounce and they came racing back. The coke rush didn't quite get them there. So I'd put it in for that extra kick up the ass. Once you started meddling in cutting agents it just gets worse and worse. You get greedy because most of the time no one complains. In Australia, no one gives a shit what they put up their nose as long as you're reliable.
Have you ever used cutters you regret?
One time someone told me they only buy bags that had that real gas smell, like petrol because apparently that's how you determine if it's pure. So I rubbed the bag with a towel that had been slightly dipped in petrol. The bag fucking stank. Another time these Romanians told me that they only wanted rocks, so I laid out the gear on a plate, sprayed it with hairspray and mushed it together. The coke stuck together but fell apart pretty easily. I told them that's how you know it's pure, because the rocks break apart real flakey. Man, I was full of shit.
What made you stop cutting your product?
I stopped cutting my shit entirely because I saw all the younger generation getting hooked on ice and liquid g. I kept thinking it was probably because cunts like me are always cutting their gear to the point where a lot of these kids think coke doesn't have a "real" effect. They're buying bags that are like 20 percent so they go onto a cheaper alternative that fucks them up way more. I saw a girl overdose on GHB once. She was really young and I thought she was dead.
Have dark web sites like Silk Road affected your business?
Yeah they have. People are getting much better product online at a much better rate. I've lost a lot of my part-time customers, people who used to hit me up once a month. Now they'll just order a quarter or something between mates, it works out a lot cheaper and cleaner for them. I can't compete with that. So I rely on long term people I've been dealing with and people willing to pay a bit extra for convenience. Otherwise I make enough money from my day job.
Hey Mark, can you tell us about the worst cutters you've used?
Well the worst was after I was set up by my ex-misses and former best mate. They told me they'd met a guy who wanted to buy an ounce, cash up. I was a bit suss and nervous because I couldn't afford to outlay enough cash for an ounce. But they made a convincing case and sure enough, I never fucking saw them again. And I had these guys on their way to pick up the ounce. They were regular customers and if I didn't give them something I'd be fucked.
I had no gear and no money. So I popped down to Woolies and grabbed a few boxes of epsom salts. When they came over I gave them a puff out of my personal stash, then I weighed up exactly an 8-ball of epsom salts. I got about a thousand texts from them that night, apparently the pipe went black as soon as they tried to light it up. The bastards kept trying to smoke it and I was paranoid all night that one of them might die or fuck one of their lungs. But they're only epsom salts. You smoke enough ciggies, how much worse can some salts from Woolies be? But they were really pissed off so I stayed with my aunt out in Shepperton. I went from being the victim of a robbery to the target of the fucking western suburbs. Not a good time.
So do you still use cutting agents?
Everyone that deals shard or speed uses cutters. In Australia we use crystallized MSM to chop our gear. Usually we turn an 8-ball into an ounce and that's where all our extra profit comes from. I've heard of a lot worse though. Some cutting agents even hospitalise people. A guy I know was coughing up spots of blood for about six months, but he kept smoking. Cunt of a drug ey?
Has the Dark Web had any affect on your business?
Mate, honestly no one I know is buying shard off those sites. Probably because half of us don't know how to work the fucking thing. Ice heads aren't going to wait a fortnight for their gear, the cunts don't even like waiting an extra hour before they get shitty with you. Most of the time they know the gear has been cut or reformed but they don't care as long as they get their rush.
Hey Tran, I had no idea you could even cut weed?
Yeah when I was 17, the guys that taught me how to grow were adding different types of grit to weigh down their weed. The more it weighs, the more they pay. We mainly used silicon but I've heard of some cunts finding iron fillings and glass on their buds. I learned a few techniques from some young Viet guys I went to highschool with in Box Hill. Nobody ever complained so I didn't think it would do much harm.
What made you stop ruining your product?
I was making good money and didn't think it was fucking anyone up that bad. It wasn't until years later that I met some guys at a weed protest who taught me the proper way to farm cannabis. I jokingly told the guy I sprayed my shit to weigh it down and his mate almost cracked me. Apparently the silicon in sprays can kill you when you smoke it. They really opened my eyes to all the fucked up shit I was doing to the scene and more importantly, to the people who trusted me enough to buy my weed.
Hey Dylan, tell me about why you started cutting your products.
It started with an MD shortage about five years ago. Selling was my main source of income and I couldn't risk losing customers. So I used small amounts of ice (meth). I'd mix less than a quarter of a point with some dexxy powder and fill the cap. When they took it, most people were really happy but the comedowns were always severe. One of my friends who was hooked on ice actually committed suicide. I stopped dealing after that.
To your knowledge, are people still cutting their caps with shitty alternatives?
Nowadays, they've got testing kits and I hope more young people use them because they're worth it. Since they've been introduced, a lot of the guys I know pushing pills and caps haven't been cutting their shit. Some of these guys really didn't give a fuck about what they put in their caps, but nowadays everyone's a lot more careful because they can get exposed and lose your business.
Tell me about the effect Silk Road has had on the MDMA industry?
Next to the testing kits, it's had the biggest affect on the Australian MDMA market. Suppliers are even importing through online networks because they are getting a safer product. They can cut with health supplements and not feel guilty about it. The customers still get a really solid, clean high without the garbage backyard Aussie crap that comes with it. In Australia we have to import MDMA, if we want quality pharmaceutical grade stuff. The cooks in backyard ops will never be able to compete with Israeli stuff. Even if you gave them all the right chemicals and equipment. No chance.
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