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One-Stop Shopping: Sex, Drugs and Grindr

Monday Aug 6, 2018
One-Stop Shopping: Sex, Drugs and Grindr

A report from NBC News says that some drug dealers are utilizing online dating apps, such as Grindr, to sell drugs to their clientele.

"It gives me more clientele than I would normally get on the street," a dealer named Mike told the news outlet of his use of the popular gay dating app. Mike chose not to reveal his last name because he was discussing illegal behavior.

"He added that selling on Grindr is safer since he doesn't have to worry about confrontations with other dealers 'about who sells in what area.'

"It gives me more clientele than I would normally get on the street," Mike said of the popular gay dating app to NBC News, adding that selling on Grindr is safer since he doesn't have to worry about confrontations with other dealers "about who sells in what area."

According to the NBC News report, the world's most popular gay hook-up site Grindr (3 million members) has made steps in the past to curtail the buying, selling and use of drugs on the site. "However" the report continues, "those who use the app say it is still home to a robust market for illicit substances."

The secret language used on the site to clue users in on drug play was also explained, such as hidden terms, misused capitalization and acronyms.

"The terms 'parTy and play' and the acronym 'PNP,' which can be seen on Grindr and beyond, are used by some gay men to describe a sexual encounter while under the influence of drugs. The capital T refers to meth's street name, 'Tina.'"

Despite the attempt to curtail drug use on Grindr, NBC News spoke to numerous users of the app that said that it is still prevalent.

"I think it's gotten worse in the past couple of years," said Phil McCabe, a social worker and president of the National Association of LGBT Addiction Professionals, told NBC News. In addition to being a social worker also uses the app. He recalled being messaged on Grindr by someone who was offering "parTy favors."

"Now I know he wasn't bringing red Solo cups. He was selling drugs," McCabe added. "The apps are making it easier for people to find him."

"It is definitively more prevalent than it used to be," explained Ethan, a 23-year old Michigan Grindr user, to NBC News. He has been using the app on and off for two years. "I've been offered meth and crack cocaine, which is absolutely insane to me."

As for why Mike uses Grindr as the dating app he uses to push his drugs, his answer to NBC News was simple: "'On Grindr, there's no such thing as censorship,' he said. 'I can post whatever I want.'

"Based on his experience using the app to sell drugs for the past two years, Mike said 'it doesn't seem like Grindr's policies enforce suspensions or permanent bans.'

"'I had my profile flagged twice, but nothing ever happened,' he added. 'I just received a warning that my account would be deleted, which never happened.'"

Read the full report from NBC News here.

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