Opinion: Low Rent High Life

Let me just start by saying that Berlin's party scene is not generally a druggy place. Unlike other cities with a 24 hour party scene, people in this city don't usually arm themselves with anything much harder than beer and ganja for a night (or day) out. That's one of the things I love about going out in Berlin: there's no pressure to be "out of it" in order to get into the music. In other major cities I've been to, people tend to use chemicals to force themselves into a higher or lower state, robot-like, in order to conform to strict opening times whereas Berliners are free to just ride with their own rhythms, whether they're going out at 5 p.m., 11:00 p.m. or 11:00 a.m.

Still, it's not all that unusual to find someone in among all those tipsy, low-key smokers who is taking something harder. I was just reading on Spiegel.de that the rates of Meth use are going up each year in Germany (they jumped by 19.6% in 2011 alone). Personally, I reckon that Meth is one of the least attractive party drugs, along with Meow and GHB. However good these things make a person feel, it seems like a poor compensation for the way they make you look and act... but that's just my opinion. If people choose to use these things, it's useless for individuals or the state to try and stand in their way. The problem seems to be that no one in Berlin is choosing to use Meth. Most of the time, they seem to think that they're taking an entirely different drug.
Can you spot the difference?
Above left: a shard of crystal meth.
Above right: an MDMA rock.
Both drugs taste quite similar when crushed, though.

Whenever I run into a Meth head at a party - complete with rictus grin, inability to sit down, and tendency to run his mouth about how he's been up for two or three days - he always insists that he's taken "pure" or "strong" MDMA. Which is interesting, because anybody who has taken MDMA of any quality knows it's impossible to stay up for days on the stuff. A single dose only lasts for 6 hours (even in clinical studies, and they use the really good sh**). Physical tolerance roughly doubles after that first dose, which means that you need twice as much for the second dose... four times as much for the third... to get the same effect. MDMA is also in chronically high demand and low supply, so one would have to spend a small fortune in order to buy enough to stay awake for two or three days. Basically MDMA is not the first choice for a low-income Berliner's binge-drug. A smart dealer would realize this and take his or her wares somewhere more like Ibiza.

Now I am not advocating any drug use, nor am I trying to point anyone towards the best or purest drugs in Berlin but when it comes to getting high a lot of people are obviously flying blind, if you'll pardon the pun. Obviously there are a lot of dishonest dealers about, which is nothing new in itself. The problems begin when those dealers start to outnumber informed consumers. I don't know if the German government has simply dropped the ball on educating drug users or what, but the city's dealers are obviously an even worse source of information. Users should never simply take their word for it, not when there are so many good harm reduction websites and pill testing kits to consult. I've listed a few links for reference, below.

Pill Reports - up to date database of pill test results from around Europe and North America
EZ Test Kits - manufacturer of home tests for all kinds of street drugs
Bluelight.org Drug FAQs - unbiased information about virtually every substance known to mankind

Have a Happy Monday:-)


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