Magazine launched in Hoxton to help drug users fund habit

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A  magazine designed to help drug users fund their habit legally is being sold on the streets of Hoxton.

Illegal! magazine, originally launched in Denmark in 2013, has sold 500 copies of its first English language edition since its launch in Hoxton last Thursday.

Founded and edited by Danish social entrepreneur Michael Lodberg Olsen, the magazine is given to those dependent on drugs for free and sold by them for £3.50 per issue. In Denmark, Mr Olsen set up a mobile safe injection unit for drug users.

The concept of the magazine is to promote education around drugs and decriminalise those who use drugs. As with Big Issue magazine which is sold by the homeless, the proceeds from the sale of each edition go directly back into the pockets of the users to fund their habits.

The theme of the first UK edition surrounds the safe use of drugs and information about the drugs MDMA, cocaine and cannabis.

Mr Olsen commented: “The UK government’s war on drugs has failed so new approaches are needed. This magazine is about giving everyone the right to do with their bodies what they want and breaking the cycle between drugs and crime.”

Louis Jensen, who is responsible for the launch of Illegal! commented on the local reaction to the magazine coming to Hoxton.

He said: “There was a real mixture of people at the launch, from local residents to drug users and drug rehabilitation workers. People really liked the content and wanted to have a conversation about it.”

Editions of the magazine have already been sold on Shoreditch High Street and Kingsland Road.

The magazine is written entirely by volunteers and is published by Danish monks. It plans to cover East London and eventually the whole of the UK if it proves a success in Hoxton.