Viagra The Party Drug?

Viagra The Party Drug?

By Bryan Le 11/20/17

Male enhancement pills are popping up as the drug du jour for one very unexpected demographic.

Image: 
Old man holding a sample of male enhancement Viagra pill.
The danger is in impure counterfeit pills that contain toxins or an overdose of the active ingredient.

Young men in the UK looking to party hard all night are turning to smuggled Viagra and other unregulated male enhancement pills for a good time. 

According to Sky News, massive demand for the drug has led to a rise in bootlegging of the meds. Authorities seized £2.5 million (more than $3 million USD) worth of the pills between 2012 and 2013, but that figure has grown to a considerably larger £17.4 million (almost $23 million USD) in 2016. 

A big reason the pills are being abused is to counteract certain effects of alcohol and other drugs.

According to UK officials, the pills now account for 90% of all seized counterfeit drugs.

“They dwarf anything else we seize,” said Danny Lee-Frost of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). "When I first started doing this you'd get people flying out to India for a fortnight holiday and then coming back with a couple of suitcases, their mates designed them a little website and they were dealing it all from their spare bedroom.”

The scale of the operation has become bigger since. "Now you've got organized crime involved, you've got the websites hosted in places like Russia, you've got the money going out to the Cayman Islands, you've got this stuff being smuggled in,” Lee-Frost explained. “It's a big, big business.”

Some of the unlicensed, fruit-flavored drugs were found to be contaminated with lead and arsenic, or contained much more than the 100mg legal limit of Sildenafil, the active ingredient.

While some may find the new demographic's penchant for pill popping surprising, sexual psychotherapist Raymond Francis chalks it up to the old matter of male pride. Many of Francis's male patients younger than 35 are using the pills as insurance that they are ready to perform when the time comes, he told Sky News.

“I believe their dependence on Viagra for recreational reasons, if you like, is driven to some degree by the plethora of sexual imagery through pornography which is so instantly available,” Francis explained. “This is one of the last few remaining taboos in modern society today, even in this day and age of openness, male sexual performance is one of the few matters in life which is really considered deeply confidential.”

Pressure to perform has led to dependence in some young men.

“No matter how I’m feeling, what’s going through my head, or how attracted to the woman I’m with, it makes no difference. Now, if I know I’m due to see a woman, I discreetly take two pills beforehand,” said Daniel Atkinson. “I sometimes find it hard to do without Viagra.” 

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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter

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