Millennials Have Found A Unique Way To Pay For Drugs

By Victoria Kim 07/12/17

A new survey found that a third of young adults are using a tech-savvy method to score drugs. 

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young woman removing cash from her wallet

According to a new survey, millennials are skipping the ATM and opting for a more tech-friendly approach to completing their drug transactions.

In the survey commissioned by LendEDU, a student loan marketplace, 33% of young adults reported having used the mobile payment app Venmo for purchasing illicit substances including weed, Adderall and cocaine. Of the 1,217 college students surveyed in June, 67% said they had not used Venmo for drugs.

Venmo—a subsidiary of PayPal that boasts 203 million active users—is a free service that allows users to send each other money through its mobile app or website. Last year it processed $17.6 billion in payments.

Venmo is typically used for splitting checks at restaurants, sending rent money—that sort of thing. But apparently young, tech-savvy adults are finding the app useful for paying for drugs—sending money to their friendly neighborhood dealer with a few taps on their smartphones.

In a statement to Quartz, Venmo assured, “If there is ever a situation where evidence of  gambling or other illegal activity is brought to our attention, Venmo works quickly to take appropriate action.”

In the spring of 2015, Columbia University student Michael Getzler was arrested for selling drugs to “every sizable demographic in campus.” News of his arrest worried his clientele, who paid Getzler through Venmo—it’s not difficult to pull up users’ transaction histories, where the other user in the transaction is listed, plain as day.

Getzler was busted after publishing an anonymous essay in the Columbia Daily Spectator, somewhat of a confession to his illicit dealings. “Weed, edibles, MDMA, coke—I have sold all of these over the past week, in staggering amounts,” he wrote. “Several hundred students (and I would call that a conservative estimate) will be smoking my weed this Saturday. There will be more than 100 students rolling on MDMA, thanks to me alone.”

He went on, “I find something so fulfilling and exciting in being the person that people rely on for fun.”

Getzler, a sophomore English major at the time, was charged with two felonies—possession of a controlled substance in the third and fifth degrees—and two non-felony counts of criminal use of drug paraphernalia, criminal possession in the seventh degree, and unlawful possession of marijuana.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr

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