Top

news

Stories

 

72-Hour Party People

Meth: It's not just for the white-trash crowd.

It comes wrapped in red foil and purple tissue, this intricate figurine molded in the form of a Japanese demon, with clawed feet, a mane of fire and a thick tongue jutting from a bloodthirsty smirk. Transparent, the size of a child's fist, it looks like a tiny ice carving or a statuette of glass. It is neither. In fact, it is 25 grams (a little less than one ounce) of nearly 100 percent pure crystallized methamphetamine hydrochloride, known on the streets of Asia as "Shabu." It was almost certainly manufactured in a clandestine laboratory in China, then shipped to the Philippines and on to Hawaii, and finally to Denver. Here it was purchased on the black market for $5,500 -- nearly five times the street value of an equivalent amount of cocaine and ten times that of low-grade, powdered crystal meth.

Shabu is so expensive because it is so pure -- and therefore so powerful. Most of the home-cooked speed in Denver is only 10 to 20 percent actual crystallized methamphetamine, adulterated with toxic by-products of the makeshift ingredients used in crude manufacturing processes. While any tweaker with a hot plate can whip together a batch of bathtub speed, Shabu requires a trained chemist working in a fully equipped laboratory with uncorrupted components. The result is pharmaceutical-grade meth -- 95-plus percent pure.

As much as the word can be applied to an illegal drug, Shabu is clean.

"There's no horse deworming medicine in this shit, okay? You can't make this kind of shit out of road flares and cold pills," says Nick, delicately unwrapping the Shabu demon atop the burnished steel of his Swedish designer coffee table.

"This is the shit JFK was getting jacked in his ass during the Cuban missile crisis. I shouldn't even be calling this shit 'shit,' because it's disrespectful."

Nick peels away the last scrap of foil and positions the demon in the center of the coffee table, surrounding it with a careful arrangement of long-stemmed glass pipes, miniature butane torches and razor-sharp utility knives.

On this Thursday afternoon in late summer, Nick is preparing the second-floor recreation room of his fashionably appointed Highland home for what has become a twice-a-month ritual of extreme indulgence for a revolving group of five to ten fellow hip, young and successful citizens of Denver.

"Basically," he says, "we blast off Thursday night and don't pull the chute until Sunday."

During their 72-hour run, he and his friends will eat little solid food save fruit, so Nick's fridge and freezer are stocked with the makings for smoothies. Along with yogurt, organic apple juice and frozen blackberries, strawberries and mangoes are five bottles of Moët champagne, a dozen bottles of Italian sparkling water, four cases of microbrew, two bottles of chilled New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and a discount-warehouse carton of 400 Otter Pops.

Speed-binge supplies of a different nature have been cached in a master-bathroom medicine cabinet -- one bottle holding ninety Valiums and another with forty tablets of ProVigil, the market name for the experimental drug Modafonil, a sleep suppressant the U.S. military tested on fighter and bomber pilots in Afghanistan and Iraq. Modafonil is now prescribed for cancer patients to combat the chronic-fatigue side effects of chemotherapy. Nick has laid in a supply because he claims he's found that combining Modafonil with Shabu takes the edge off the undesirable psychological whammies of sleep deprivation, including auditory hallucinations and paranoid delusions.

"One night without sleep is just staying up all night," he says. "People do that straight or just with coffee all the time. You feel a little zoned-out in the morning, but by midday, your natural rhythm kicks in. So long as you get some sleep that following night, you're cool. But when you ride the party train two nights in a row, or three nights, things can start to get a little odd, a little slippery. And if somebody spins out, it's no fun."

In other words, a sudden case of amphetamine psychosis really brings a party down.

"I consider this shit an excellent use of my tax dollars," Nick says, rattling a bottle of ProVigil. "It helps keep people from going werewolf around hour 50."

He buys his ProVigil from a psychiatrist friend of a friend who works in several Veterans Affairs hospitals counseling and treating terminal cancer patients. When the patients die, their families don't know what to do with their ProVigil pills, so they give them to the psychiatrist, who gives them to Nick's friend, who sells them to Nick.

All he'll say about this Shabu is that it comes from Hawaii and that he has a source -- another friend of a friend -- who flies to Honolulu once every other month, buying two or three statuettes at a time for resale in Denver and Colorado Springs. It's no big syndicate, just small-time narcotics smuggling where the payoff is a free trip to Hawaii, a little extra spending money and the rush of getting away with it.

The rush of Shabu itself is freakishly powerful. A single minuscule hit -- about one-tenth of a gram, vaporized and inhaled -- is enough to keep a weekend warrior like Nick riding the lightning for twelve hours.

1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
69 comments
Divya Patel
Divya Patel

My response to this is, the article made it clear that the participants in this orgy of stupidity was both increasing in number and frequency. They are also using other drugs in addition to the meth. Pure or not, it is a highly addictive drug, and very, very expensive. So these "wealthy" people get a habit, and spend thousands of dollars a month on this. This is glorifying drug use because it shows young, stupid people with more income than sense- They can afford multiple illegal drugs, to take off to Vegas and party at the drop of a hat. People will over look what the author down played- smoking out of light bulbs, neurotic obsessive behaviors, and gross negligence of people traveling, driving, etc., while high as fuck. This is no better than a back alley meth addict who steals hub caps for drugs.

Shari Walsh
Shari Walsh

Morbidly fascinating. Like watching a train wreck.

Chris Sanford
Chris Sanford

While I certainly don't condone the use of hard-core methamphetamine or any other drug, I think you're missing a lot of what this article actually illustrates. First off, lets realize that what these people are consuming is nearly 100% pure authentic methamphetamine. This doesn't mean the drug is "harmless" by any sense of the word, but it does mean that it's not a concoction made of batteries, gasoline, and household cleaners like most of today's meth, but rather the pure chemical itself; a far cry from the world of meth as we know it. While the world of Breaking Bad is a written fantasy, Shabu is literally in essence what the characters of the show produce. Still extremely addictive, it doesn't have the same chemical compounds found in today's ordinary black market meth because it's derived of the actual chemical process and foundation of real methamphetamine. Again, that's not to say it's healthy by any standard, but consumed in short quantities like these people do it is a lot less destructive. Secondly, you have to really, truly step outside your societal naughty-box to realize with an open mind that these people are sincerely and quite literally just having a good time. It's not about being subjected to peer pressure, being part of a particular group of no-gooders, or stumbling upon a way to escape your awful reality, but instead an actual, legitimate adventure away from the normal, mundane life of our everyday reality. Anyway, my point is, it's not the same as what you know and it's a group of (very wealthy obviously) people having an extremely good time using something that is taboo in our culture in its purest form, and nothing more. Now, does that mean it hasn't affected them in a negative way and caused any one of them to become a drug addict? No, certainly not. But if they're as intelligent and as open-minded as they're represented then perhaps it was nothing more than that, an incredible 3 day binge that produced positive experiences they may never forget.

Candie Bernard
Candie Bernard

Definitely one of the more interesting stories I've read here in a while.

Candie Bernard
Candie Bernard

It didn't sound glamorized to me. A house full of sticky Otter Pop wrappers, nodding off mid-sentence, smelling of sour sweat, wasting hours on learning a ridiculous song, then choreographing to it, staring at porn for hours on end? The word "glamour" doesn't really come to mind.

Divya Patel
Divya Patel

Excellent job at glamorizing a drug that ruins lives. For tose that want a follow up- These people either got over it or are now worthless junkie losers. I vote for junkie losers. Degree or not, career or not, a loser is a loser, and these guys are clearly losers.

Oblivion Fringe
Oblivion Fringe

LOL at: "rattling a bottle of ProVigil. "It helps keep people from going werewolf around hour 50."

Chris Sanford
Chris Sanford

This is old as the hills. The author should do a follow-up though. :)

Brett26
Brett26

Hunter........ Is that you?

Sara Harper
Sara Harper

Wow. Props. This was extremely well written.

Losers
Losers

No matter how many degrees or how much money you have, when you're smoking out of light bulbs and snorting lines in bathrooms, you're TRASH. Gloss it over all you want; you're still fucking TRASH.

alex_de
alex_de

Incredible honest writing, thank you for a fantastic piece. I'm sure the next few days were torture for these people. There is just no way to bing on meth like this in a healthy responsible way.

As much as I'm in favor of decreased regulation of illicit drugs, there needs to be some force keeping this drug off the streets. If men were angels, no government would be necessary. 

bvn8r
bvn8r

Anyone who has anything to do with that meth garbage will turn into trash!  That is for sure!  This story is just about some people who are in the beginning stages of meth addiction.  They are still at the point where they can hold a job and only do the garbage on the weekends.  All I know is once you have done meth once there is a very good chance that your life is gonna get a whole lot worse before it gets better and there's an even better chance that it will never get better.  That shit is not to be messed with!  If you wanna destroy your life I cant think of a better way!

timmyboy
timmyboy

Tweakers suck...pipe down, bong out...dummys

Mike
Mike

This tale is amateur compared to CTC antics. Come join the the cartel for some real debauchery.

Meth Abuse
Meth Abuse

Oncogene addiction occurs when the presence of cancer is dependent on a single cancer-causing gene. Cancer tumors of this nature regress with oncogene-targeted treatment. Stanford researchers have shown

LordOpiate
LordOpiate

Fantastic drug trip article. Really enjoyed this drug addled lunacy which almost made me have to shyt. I laughed out loud and con mucho gusto when after having their first snap they descended into the babble about buying the little amputee a new leg.

Bewarethebirdman
Bewarethebirdman

This hype about Shabu is simplenonsense. Any chemist can take "crap" meth made anywhere and purify it using a few simple steps to isolate the pure methamphetamine hydrochloride that it contains from the rest of the garbage. There will be no difference between it and this expensive "Shabu" that this article hypes. A simple acid/base was and extraction with recrystallization.

Scottpfen
Scottpfen

How about those young people, just having fun!

Rachel Trott
Rachel Trott

This is truly an interesting article. I really like how you as an author have really removed yourself from the narrative-- which is important for any journalistic endevor, but doubly so for a story such as this. The "fly on the wall" approach really puts the reader smack dab in the middle of this crazy, drug-riddled experience that's raw and honestly a little bit uncomfortable at times.

Matt
Matt

That was a great read. I was memorized and captivated the entire time. I can almost relate to a degree. My palms remain sweaty.

rex
rex

great writing, heavy filipino influence on the use of the word shabu to refer to meth, i don't think americans use that word.

Jake
Jake

Great story; made me feel like I was there. Practically got butterflies myself!

However, I had trouble believing parts, like the sudden trip to Vegas while geeked. These people were probably sweating and shaking, and there's no way that would go undetected by others.

I really wish the author would do a follow-up with these characters, now that it's seven years later. I bet the stories are pretty sad. I would make a wager that some got arrested, and I'm certain most of them got in over their heads.

Sean
Sean

White trash was a clean wrapper once. Great article, a story told with it's ups and downs, I love it.

Ed
Ed

Oh I can't wait until these trust fund uber tools are living on the streets without their teeth. But I bet at least some of them will still have at least one stylish shirt...covered in grease and grime. And one of these bimbos will still be wearing her Prada shoes...with holes in the soles. Lastly, it will be fun to read the article about the DEA busting some silly hipster in Hawaii. Good luck in the pen Mr. Hipster. Ya ain't so cool in there...

Alan
Alan

Depressing. Reminds me of the "Bad Old Days."

Hillbilly
Hillbilly

I felt like I was high while reading this....I have butterflies like I am about to take a hit. Great article.

mo
mo

This a a very very bad drug. My X wife was hooked on meth and well as you have read she is my x. I tryed to every thing to get her off of it but the only thing she wanted was meth. She still to this day lives on the streets. she has not see her kids for the last 6 years.

Maatt Fisher
Maatt Fisher

"Most" LSD is not adulterated with meth. This is an urban legend similar to the one claiming most LSD is adulterated with strychnine (commonly heard about 15 years ago.) Both have been roundly debunked, but common sense should do that anyway: acid is incredibly cheap (roughly 5 dollars per dose yields a nice profit) and meth isn't. Who would adulterate something cheap with something expensive? You would have to put more than 5 dollars worth of meth into the mix to have any effect. It's just easier and more profitable to sell bunk than it is to adulterate it.

Eddie
Eddie

They took that stuff on the plane with them? That's crazy/stupid.

Mike O.
Mike O.

Meth is the only drug I've ever used that I ended up fearing, in the sense of always wanting more. I watched a group of 10 or so users slide down the slippery slope, snorting to shooting, and it wasn't pretty at all (you ever see crank sores on a formerly beautiful girl?). Luckily for me, I fear needles.

As far as acid goes, most is spiked with meth to prolong the experience.

I'd call meth a "clean" high. Cocaine (I've had almost pure), always came with a "grittiness" that I disliked. Dollar for dollar, a meth hit can last 4 hours, cocaine maybe a half hour.

l337h4x
l337h4x

This is probably one of the best stories about the experience of the drug i've ever read. It's very genuine and realistic, not like the hollywood version of it at all. It must be nice to be able to just charter a flight to Vegas...must be nice...xD 10/10 kudos author!

srsly
srsly

Still very much white trash to me.

Matt
Matt

Whoa. Great article! I read it without having to grab a cup of coffee. Captivating! It speaks to all of us who are curious about the effects/thrill of drugs but, who are afraid to try them. Despite the amount of fun they had, I...would be afraid to try this drug as I feel like one hit would set me on a path to the dark side.

Great article, very well written!

otterpop
otterpop

i was madly entertained by the otterpop reference..that has been my on-drugs staple for years, and in fact over time has evolved into my nickname.

it would certainly be nice to have enough money to pull something like that epic vegas trip though...

Denver
Denver

I used to be one of the partners of that Enigma Afterhours club that was referenced in the article back in the day - makes me want to piece together who each of those people were! Can't say I ever did that stuff, but the story seemed pretty spot on from what I've seen. Anyway, certainly an interesting read!

Katherine
Katherine

Wow! Thanks for the nostalgia!! I've never tweaked, but my friends and I used to get together and do acid all night when I was younger :) I only wish I had enough time to set aside for a night like that again (and the needed recovery time!)...alas I have too many responsibilities now :(

GAMBLE-BOT
GAMBLE-BOT

Me and my mistress Lindsey tweak all the time when the wife is gone on business. You pussies are just jealous that you don't have the kwan.

Ya Feels Me?

Ur mom
Ur mom

I got more out of the comments then I did out of the story and agree with thoes who say F*%! drugs, high roller crack head is no different then trailer trash junky. The only thing that seperates them is the money.. I agree dorks on meth lmfao

tim
tim

that was a good read and interesting subjects

thanks

baby
baby

!!! alala ko nung highschool ganon kami mag weekend!!! pero di ko advocate use

DoSomeResearch
DoSomeResearch

@bvn8r Where are you getting your information from? Truly i'm curious because you just posted a paragraph of ignorant bullshit. Yes meth does destroy lives but so do all drugs, and news flash, meth is by no means the highest rated substance that destroys lives, ever heard of alcohol or heroin  Also saying that anyone who has anything to do with that meth "garbage" will turn into trash is inherently ignorant unless you consider our top politicians, wall-street businessmen, and ALL of our special forces to be trash... the difference that you and countless other people fail to recognize is that there is a HUGE difference between street meth made in a basement, Shabu, and Desoxyn (I'll save you the time, it's pure meth produced and sold as a prescription drug) these types of individuals use it to maintain focus and alertness in situations where they can't afford to be tired. Another point, has it ever occurred to you why you almost always only hear about people who have had their lives ruined by meth vs. people that use habitually and are fine? That's because there is no reason for those people to come forward and make it public knowledge, we as society only notice those who ruin their lives. Admittedly one of the largest problems with maintaining both a healthy relationship (meth is a chemical just like coffee and over the long term is not much worse for you than coffee) with meth and a successful life is that it becomes costly which is once again why you only ever notice the "trash" as you put it having problems and not your elected officials or business leaders because they can afford to maintain the habit and potentially profit from it as a result of being able to do their job much more efficiently and receiving more money as a result, sadly this related cost is the result of the futile war on drugs that so many insist we continue funding, it drives the prices of drugs, crime rates, and addiction rates through the roof (if you don't believe me do a little research, look into how Portugal has been doing since they decriminalized drugs), next time you find yourself compelled to post ignorant hate speech online why don't you do a little research first.

 
Loading...