NBC OUT released a new report that details how gay men are using Grindr to sell and buy drugs. The article features the accounts of a dozen men who recount their experiences with drugs on the popular dating app.
Here are a few of them:
“The issue with drugs has been a gay community plague since the ‘80s, but in the modern era, you don’t need a guy who knows a guy. All you need to do is open up your app and look for that capital ‘T.’”-Derrick Anderson, a Grindr user from Chicago
“Today with Grindr, men can have sex and drugs delivered to their door instantly. I think it’s gotten worse in the past couple of years. The apps are making it easier for people to find him.” – Phil McCabe, social worker and president of the National Association of LGBT Addiction Professionals
“Drugs were always sprinkled throughout the app, but now it’s nothing like before. Of course drug sales are happening on other dating apps, but at a fraction.” – George, a Grindr user in New York
“It gives me more clientele than I would normally get on the street.” – Mike, a teaching assistant in New York City who also sells drugs
The article also profiles how drugs users and sellers use various code words and emojis in headlines and profile descriptions to describe what drugs they are looking for or selling. For instance, a diamond is used to represent meth, while a snowman is used to represent cocaine.
Data from a 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (USA) found that among adults who identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual, 39.1% had used an illegal drug in the past year, as compared to 17.1% of heterosexual respondents. With double the rates of drug use, the rates of drug abuse and addiction are also disproportionately high among members of the gay community.
Also, gay and bisexual men are 12.2 times more likely to use amphetamines than heterosexual men. This statistic was unearthed by in the research for the book “Unequal Opportunity: Health Disparities Affecting Gay and Bisexual Men in the United States.”
When asked for comment, a spokesperson for Grindr told NBC OUT, “Grindr prohibits the promotion of drug use in its user profiles and is committed to creating a safe environment through digital and human screening tools to help its users connect and thrive.”
“Grindr encourages users to report suspicious and threatening activities,” the spokesperson added. “While we are constantly improving upon this process, it is important to remember that Grindr is an open platform.”
However, when asked for specific examples of how they combat this, NBC OUT’s numerous requests for comment were denied.
To read the whole report on Grindr and drug abuse, head here.