Throwback on The Inside Story of London's Chemsex Scene from VICE

Christine Schierano has been documenting the world of drug-fuelled sex parties for the past six years.

The dark side of London's chemsex scene crept into public view during the trials last year of Stephen Port, who killed and raped four young men in east London, and Stefano Brizzi, who partially ate and dissolved in acid a police officer in the south of the city.

Both murderers used their knowledge of chemsex – male sex parties, often organised on dating apps, which are fuelled by mephedrone, G and crystal meth – as a pretext and a smokescreen for their gruesome killings. The more chemsex came up in these court cases, the more this niche subculture, in the eyes of the public, came to represent a macabre, depraved underworld.

But what do we really know about this hidden world that inspires such grim fascination? Beyond the extreme cases of Port and Brizzi, there is no denying it's a risky thing to do, because it can entail drug injecting, overdosing, unprotected sex and the potential for addiction. In London there has been a rise in HIV infections and mephedrone and GHB/GBL overdoses linked to chemsex. It is a landscape peopled by "crystal methodists", BBC economists, radio producersand former rugby stars, not just those on the fringes of society.

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