“The first time I ever tried mephedrone was with a client,” says Gabriel*, a 29-year-old male escort in London. “And as I kept working, it’s just become far more normal. Now, even with incredibly wealthy clients, most of them are using mephedrone.”
Part of the sex work industry for the last half a decade, Gabriel’s witnessed firsthand the way drugs – namely crystal meth, mephedrone and GHB (or “G”, a liquid solvent) – have flooded London’s gay scene. Predominantly used during sex, there’s now a growing portion of the gay community involved in “chemsex”, as it’s colloquially known, and going to the “chillouts” – drug-fuelled sex parties – at which chemsex tends to occur.