Magazine For Drug Addicts To Make Money For Drug Use

By McCarton Ackerman 11/18/14

First published in Denmark in 2013, Illegal! magazine will now be available in English.

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Front cover of Illegal! Photo via

A group of Danish drug-reform campaigners have published a magazine whose primary goal is to help addicts in London fund their drug habit legally.

The quarterly magazine, called Illegal!, was initially launched in Denmark in September 2013. The initial publication was in Danish and has enjoyed a circulation of about 15,000 copies, but an initial 2,000 copies of the English language-version are being sold on London streets.

As a means of helping down-and-out drug users obtain money without resorting to theft or prostitution, they are given the magazine for free and then sell it for about $5.50 per copy. However, those who buy the magazine are advised the seller is “more than likely” to spend the money on drugs.

“Everyone has a right to do with their body as they wish and, if that means a two-day acid trip in Camden or an ecstasy-fuelled night in Shoreditch, then so be it,” read the magazine’s foreword. "What we lack is education. Welcome to Illegal! magazine in London.” The first issue focuses on “safer and more enjoyable drug use” and was written with the help of the Global Drug Survey.

Editor-in-Chief Michael Lodberg Olsen said if the initial test run is a success, then drug users would pay about $2.25 per issue to help cover the costs of the magazine. Although the magazine doesn’t skimp on substance or content, his primary goal with Illegal! was to help spark a conversation about drug use.

“We can’t just ignore that drugs are everywhere and there are heavy drug users on the streets who often fund their habit through theft or prostitution. This offers them an alternative. It is about breaking the cycle between drug use and crime,” he said. “We don’t think the magazine breaks any laws. We have told people that, if someone is unhappy about the magazine being sold near a particular place, then they should move on.”

Denmark has always been on the more progressive side when it comes to addressing drug use. Danish Parliament passed legislation in June 2012 that would allow for “fix rooms,” or drug consumption centers where users are supervised when using. A second DCR was opened that August both centers now host 1,800 users who smoke and inject heroin and cocaine.

But that isn’t to say that drug use at DCR’s is necessarily safer. Although no deaths have taken place in the two Copenhagen fix rooms, 135 people overdosed on site in the first year.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.

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