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Why is Everyone ‘Shelving’ their Drugs? 

shelving drugs
Written by Joseph Mcqueen

Consuming drugs can be a bit of a minefield. There are both very normal and very abnormal ways of doing it. For every joint smoker, you have someone proudly using THC lube. For every ecstasy pill swallowed, you also have someone putting it in their drink. And for every bit of powder snorted, you also have someone trying to put it where the sun doesn’t shine.

Rectum inserting – also known as ‘shelving’ – is an odd way of taking drugs but it does have more purpose than you may think. Whilst it definitely isn’t a method that should be used often, its initial benefits are quite intriguing and sensical. So, let’s answer this question: why are people shelving their drugs? 

What is Shelving? 

Some call it boofing, some call it booty bumping and some call it shelving – but whatever words you want to use, it basically involves putting drugs up your bum. Usually this refers to ecstasy, as the pill can quite easily fit into the rectum. Although, there are many cases of other kinds of drugs going up there too. It might sound odd, but actually this technique makes a lot of sense. Whilst this method of consumption may have originated or been popularized by the LGBT communities, the act itself is done by basically anyone. Although, many people would be too afraid to try it. So let’s break the stigma and learn more about this oddly sensical way of consuming drugs. 


Ecstasy (pill form) or MDMA (powder form) is a stimulant drug that causes feelings of euphoria, alertness, love, hallucinations and heightened senses. Everything feels better on MDMA. This substance is one of the most popular party drugs out there, and is often paired with music events and gigs. If you’ve ever seen two people cuddling intensely in a smoking area or talking about how much they love each other, then ecstasy is probably the cause. Drug Abuse writes about a fictional ecstasy consumer called Chloe:

“The drug’s stimulation gave her a boost of confidence, a sense of well-being and a feeling of closeness to the strangers surrounding her. Once those feelings kicked in, Chloe knew the “love drug” was in full effect. If we could see Chloe’s brain, we would see huge amounts of a neurochemical known as serotonin surging.”

Ecstasy was a massive part of the 90s rave scene, when the UK was a breeding ground for new and exciting indie music. It was a right of passage, the ability to take a drug and feel connected to each other. Full of love and not hate. But there’s no surprise really that people started experimenting with consuming cannabis in a variety of ways. The come up on ecstasy is not always an easy experience. Some find it so intense that they vomit, with a rising sensation in their stomach being too much to handle. This is why some prefer to put it in their drinks, in order to try and give their digestive system a bit of a break. But what if there was a way to bypass that part of the body completely? Well, that’s where shelving comes in. 

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How Shelving is Done

There isn’t really a ‘normal’ way of shelving, probably because not a lot of people speak about it. But, to be honest, It isn’t rocket science. Plugging or shelving usually works by taking an ecstasy pill and sticking it up the rectum. This isn’t usually a comfortable affair and it’s this discomfort that often sways people away from it entirely. You’ll want to try and ensure there are no blockages, if you understand the meaning. Making sure you’ve done your business prior to shelving is definitely a must. Then, you can begin the procedure.

Once the ecstasy pill is stuck far enough in, it can sit on the shelf of the rectum and slowly disintegrate. There is a high level of blood cells in this area of the body, meaning that the drug will be consumed much quicker than through the digestive system. It also means you bypass any discomfort with the stomach and the feelings as you come up. After around 10 minutes, you should start to feel the effects. 

Why Do It?

There are several reasons why people might choose to use drugs by rectal administration – to sound scientific for a second. Here are some possible explanations:

1 – Quick effects

Shelving your drugs allows them to be absorbed directly into the bloodstream, bypassing the digestive system. This can result in a more intense and rapid onset of effects compared to oral ingestion. For example, people who use ecstasy (MDMA) by rectal administration may experience the effects within 5-10 minutes, while those who swallow the drug may not feel the effects for 30-45 minutes. This is perfect for those who dread the random and sporadic come up, and want it over and done with. Once that’s done, they can enjoy the feelings of ecstasy. 

2 – Avoiding the digestive system

Not only can the involvement of the digestive system cause nausea, but some drugs can be destroyed or metabolised by the liver and digestive system before they reach the bloodstream. By bypassing this process, shelving can allow more of the drug to reach the brain and produce effects. 

3 – Security

Another great reason to shelve is to avoid detection from bouncers or security. Staff are getting increasingly better at knowing where people hide their drugs – wallets, socks, bras. But there’s always one place they’ll never look. Unless of course you’re at an airport or a police station, strip searching is still a possibility there. 


Whilst it’s all fun and games, you can’t speak about shelving substances without discussing the issues too. It’s important to note that rectal administration of drugs carries its own set of risks and drawbacks. Here’s a list of a few:


One potential issue is the risk of damage to the rectal tissue. The rectum is a sensitive area that can be easily damaged by the insertion of foreign objects. This can lead to bleeding, infections, and other complications. You want to look after your bum. 


Another concern is the lack of standardisation when it comes to rectal drug administration. There is no established “correct” way to do it, and different people may have different techniques and preferences. This can make it difficult to predict the dose and strength of the drug being used, which can increase the risk of overdose or negative effects. It also isn’t an activity that someone will likely ask for help with, meaning it’s probably a solo affair, which increases the chances of mistakes. 


In addition, there is a risk of contamination when drugs are introduced into the rectum. The rectum is home to a variety of bacteria, and introducing drugs into this environment can allow them to come into contact with these microorganisms. This can potentially lead to infections or other complications. The bum is used constantly for evolutionary purposes, so you don’t want it being damaged and adding pain to your everyday life. Again, you gotta look after your rectum. 


Shelving is another beautiful addition to modern society. Whether you’re fond of it or not, it is definitely an ambitious activity. People may choose to use drugs by rectal administration for a variety of reasons, including the rapid onset of effects, the ability to bypass the digestive system, and the potential for avoiding detection.

However, it’s important to be aware that this method of drug use carries its own set of issues. The rectum is a fragile place and must be treated with respect and love. If you’re wanting to give shelving a go, make sure you’re doing it in a clean and safe environment. It can be both the best and worst thing, depending on creating the right atmosphere. Good luck. 

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About the author

Joseph Mcqueen

Joseph is a cannabis journalist in the UK. His search and love for the truth in the cannabis industry is what drives him to write.