You could get a part-time job in a shop. You could get a part-time job in a restaurant. Or, like one 22-year-old Bournemouth student, you could cash in on the latest drug craze.
Steven (not his real name), who studies a business degree at Bournemouth University, started dealing the legal-high mephedrone along with his housemates.
Mephedrone, also known as Miaow Miaow, MMcat, and Bubbles, is taking the UK club scene by storm. It is a plant fertiliser and comes in powdered form. It’s currently legal, although has faced calls for a ban from politicians and the police. While it’s legal, people like Steven are cashing in on the market.
“You purchase it off the internet and then… you get massive economies of scale if you buy a lot. It works out to about four pounds a gram, and we bought fifty inititially and [sold] that. It went in about three or four days. So then we got 250, and that’s going at the moment. The 250 grams is £1100. So we got it at that, then we sell it and will pretty much make about £4800…. so there’s about £3700 profit,” says Steven.
“We thought do it at our house and split all the money between us.”
Having seen others doing it in Bournemouth, he and his housemates saw an opportunity to make easy money by using their large social circle as their market. “The majority of people we sell it to we know, it’s not like we’re out selling it on the streets to sixteen or seventeen year-old little kids who might not have a clue about what they’re buying.
“We make sure we know that the people we’re selling it to aren’t likely to go silly on it and we warn them that it’s quite strong,” he says.
Its legality causes some people to think that it’s safe. Steven says: “Where it’s legal, you get the people who would never do drugs… who love it and do it on casual student nights… Where it’s legal, loads of people getting on it don’t really know too much about it. They just think it’s not going to do them any harm. You get a lot of people going a bit silly on it. Fair enough at raves and that, but at normal student nights it’s a bit random.”
Steven says he’s not worried about being caught: “As far as I’m aware, they can’t really do anything. I do think about it, but I don’t think they can do an awful lot.
“As soon as it becomes illegal then we’re going to stop doing it.”