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Drugs are everywhere and they have never been more marketed than they are now.

The most recent European Drug Report refers to this as an “uberisation” of the drug market, with it now being easier to order a gram of cocaine than a pizza. But with this ease of access and glossy marketing has come a dark outcome; a sharp uptake in drug use in children, as young as 10. The world has been hit by a wave of deaths of children who have taken Class A drugs such as ecstasy, and many have been found to have bought those drugs on Instagram and Snapchat. VICE’s Tir Dhondy investigates how easy it really is to pick up, and whether it’s possible to regulate this digital wild west.

British people take more MDMA in one session than any other country in the world. And not just a little bit more: on average, Brits take 420 milligrams per session. To put that in perspective, Germans – the same people who invented minimal techno and nightclubs that stay open for 60 hours – take only 200 milligrams.

The drug is now regularly back in the headlines because, last year, ecstasy-related deaths in the UK reached their highest level in a decade. Some blame drug manufacturers and dealers for selling pills that are dangerously strong and cut with adulterants. Others point to the government, which has failed to reduce the supply of ecstasy and is refusing to embrace harm reduction strategies that have worked in Europe. Of course, it’s also possible that the problem lies with British drug users themselves, who sometimes need reminding that the barometer of a good night out isn’t how much of your tongue is left at the end of it.


Matt Shea (filmmaker)

Matt Shea (born 16 December 1991) is an English-American documentary filmmaker, journalist and presenter.

He is known for presenting the VICE documentaries IcemanTargeted Individuals, Zombie Drug: The Truth About Flakka, and How Lean Became Rap’s Most Wanted Drug. He produces and presents High Society, a documentary series that explores drug culture in the UK and features access to real criminals. Shea’s documentaries often feature criminal access and fringe stories.

The language and content in this episode have been modified to meet YouTube’s community guidelines. View the original version over on VICE.