Illegal 5

The elephant in your blood

Af: By Thomas Pålsson, images editor and Michael Lodberg Olsen, editor-in-chief.

Illegal Magazine is based on a single point of view: drug use should be decriminalized!

Whether you smoke dry leaves, sniff coke or take all the pills you can steal from your grandmother, it is not a matter for the police force and prison system; it is a social and health issue for those addicted – and a source of pleasure for the 90% of us who use substances recreationally. All over the planet, too many people suffer because of the universally failed and highly destructive ‘War on Drugs’ – a strategy, which has proven counterproductive even to its own goals. People use drugs – and they are not likely to stop any time soon. Illegal Magazine is civil society’s answer to 40 years of failing criminalization strategies, which have only resulted in the availability of more, and cheaper, drugs than ever before as well as thousands of deaths. Illegal Magazine wants transparency in relation to drugs and pushes for a nuanced debate on the topic. What we need are open eyes, less prejudice and more information! We need to focus on people – not drugs, both in relation to the production of drugs in poorer countries, and the problems that arise in the places where drugs are consumed.

Illegal Magazine deals with both culture and drugs, because the two overlap. Through visual art, music and various social structures, humans have always been entangled in a close relationship with our mysterious friends, the psychoactive substances. Both the kinds we legally and uncritically intoxicate ourselves with at near-abuse levels, because it is socially acceptable, and the ones we do not tell our parents and spouses about.

Illegal Magazine investigates the special kinds of culture that spring from drug use and drug environments. The magazine also focusses on the ways in which drugs are embedded in our general culture – our social forms, our art, our cultural values etc.

Illegal Magazine was started and is still run by volunteers. The magazine is a helping hand to users. They sell it on the street alongside street minorities.

The magazine was first published in Copenhagen, Denmark. This issue contains a guide to safer, more enjoyable drug use.
It is a ‘how-to’ publication meant to minimize depression, psychoses and the number of people who drop dead from using drugs. We want to help them have a good time instead. The guide contains advice for cannabis, cocaine, alcohol, MDMA as well as new and unknown or less known drugs. It is based on the most comprehensive research project so far concerning people’s drug habits. The study was carried out by Global Drug Survey, with 80,000 respondents, and resulted in the largest collection of data yet. As well as this guide, which contains advice from users to other users.

Throughout the guide, great artists from different parts of the world provide an abstract counterpart to the very concrete
and down-to-earth advice. Each artist’s work has been carefully selected to match a certain drug in the guide and provides new and fascinating perspective on each one. Furthermore the artists’ participation in this project is a testimony of support. The images should not be seen as direct explanations of the text, rather they are visual universes that can inspire new thoughts on the topic of drugs – in our culture and our lives. The five artists are Stathis Tsemberlidis (GR), Jan S. Hansen (DK), Roger Ballen (ZA), Zven Balslev (DK) and Fryd Frydendahl (DK).

Welcome to Illegal.