Time Out London Drugs Survey 2013
Find out who's taking what (and where) with our comprehensive breakdown of the city's chemical adventures
London's not as high as it was in the late '90s and early noughties, but it still has some of the UK's hotspots for drug crime and is a trend-leader for new narcotics. The map above is compiled from the Metropolitan Police figures for drugs offences in London, from April to December 2012. Westminster topped the list, with 3,559 recorded drugs offences: a case of bars + clubs = drugs.
What you're taking: the big four
It is London’s most widely used illegal drug (90 percent of readers who took part in our online poll said they’d used it), although its heyday was in 1998, according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales. London’s trade in skunk (the dried leaves of a super-strong strain of the plant) largely derives from factories within the capital – last September, the Met’s Operation Hawk saw 2,500 rozzers up to their eyeballs in ganj plants as they shut down 37 farms across areas including Bexley, Bromley and East Dulwich.
Since the birth of rave in the late ’80s, ecstasy – the happy, loved-up dance drug – has been an integral part of clubbing. According to clubbers, it’s back and bigger than ever, often in its powdered form (MDMA). While more than two thirds of you have taken it, only 2.2 percent of Londoners last year told the UK Crime Survey they’d taken E, compared to a 3.5 percent high in 2001. Expect a fluctuating heart rate and body temperature, dilated pupils, gurning jaw and excessive sweating.
Who's using it? People who can afford it and aren’t put off by the fact it’s usually only 20 to 25 percent pure and probably cut with speed, sugar, odourless garlic or your dealer’s dandruff. So that would be clubbers, celebs (from Amy Winehouse to Frankie Dettori) and ageing professionals with one foot in the rave. People’s poll confessions can be about as reliable as coke chat, but in a recent ComRes poll, one in ten managers admitted using cocaine in the workplace. Maybe that’s why your boss talks so much bollocks.
Though cheap at £8-£13 a gram, this party drug is often cut with glucose, laxatives, caffeine, paracetamol, powdered milk and various other kitchen cupboard nonsense. Effects include hyperactivity and increased stamina, hence why it's being chucked back by everyone from night shift workers to corrupt sports stars. On the flip side, there's heart palpitations, insomnia and – once in a while – death, via heart attack, seizure, or stroke.
What you've tried to get high on (for some reason)
'Just sort of a mystery paste.'
'I tried nutmeg, but I couldn't figure it out. This was pre-internet.'
'I snorted Neurofen once. That was stupid though, not weird.'
'The chewed bubblegum some dodgy dealer sold us.'
'Licking a frog. It was madness.'
'I smoked oregano when I was about 15, does that count?'
'I tried to smoke a banana skin when I was 14. It's meant to get you high, right?!'
'Is snorting vodka weird?'
'Weird brown leaves found on a street.'
'When I was 13, me and a friend rolled a spliff of grass. Lawn grass.'
Where you're taking it
Some high-profile London places:
'Cocaine. In the toilets at the House of Commons. Seriously.'
'Smoking heroin off tin foil with tramps on Brick Lane in London. Always wanted to try it but didn't want to inject. I was pretty wasted on K Cider with my then-girlfriend, who was really quite insane.'
'I took ketamine then went for a walk through Ridley Road market.'
'Concert at the Southbank Centre.'
'An illegal squat rave in an abandoned monastery in the West End in the nineties.'
'At secret cinema when they were doing Prometheus. That was cool.'
'St Paul's Cathedral – self explanatory?'
Some seriously depressing places:
'A pet store bathroom.'
'My mum's funeral. The why seems obvious!'
'From the top of a sanitary bin. Classy.'
Some totally gnarly places:
'Hallucinogenics from a shaman in a hut in the Amazon jungle because it sounded like the right thing to do at the time. Horrendous dihorrea ensued.'
'Took some mushrooms in a castle on top of a volcano. Why the hell not? It was hilarious.'
'Off a elephant's taxidermed foot. It was there so why not?'
'In a field full of ostriches on acid.'
Some frankly inappropriate places:
'Midnight Mass Xmas Eve – seemed like a good idea at the time.'
'Just about to walk through airport security. For fairly obvious reasons.'
'Hmmm, not sure what is strange. A plane? A church? Tick, tick.'
'The cinema. Try walking up stairs on ketamine...'