Whether they’re selling coke, crack or smack, you have to wonder if dealers care about their customers once the transaction is over.
Do dealers care about customer satisfaction and safety? It’s a question that you may not have thought of asking, but Vice did, going to the source to see if the people selling drugs are concerned with what happens to their customers after the transaction is completed. The answers might just surprise you, too.
Brighton, England, is flooded with cheap coke. There are a lot of people around who are happy to pay $50 for a gram that’s pure benzocaine and mannitol, but mine is a better product, which is why it’s $100. I’m mostly open from 1 PM to 1 AM. This differentiates me from other dealers, many of whom don’t start until late in the afternoon, as they’ve been up working late. I’m the first call for people who are still rolling over from the night before.
New Year’s Day and the Sunday of Brighton Pride weekend are always huge for me. If someone was coming back to me at, say, 7 PM, and I knew they were up from the night before, I might ask them if they were sure they needed it. But if they didn’t look too bad and could string a sentence together, I’d sell it to them, to be honest. If they don’t get it off me, they’ll only call someone else.
Most people buy a gram or two from me and come through an existing customer, and I tend to think they know what they’re doing. Because I’m a bit more expensive, my clients are generally older, so I don’t have to worry about some kid who doesn’t know what they’re doing.
I do have people who buy too regularly, and of course, I worry about how they’re affected by it, especially if I’ve gotten to know them a bit. But, at the end of the day, I’m a drug dealer. – Mo, Brighton
I predominantly sold pills and ketamine. I had 50 to 60 regular customers, and overall close to 1,000. I very rarely met customers and had runners to do the drops for me. I sold very clean drugs. All my product was tested before I sold it, and my customers returned because they knew I sold quality.
Because I never really met the customers, I couldn’t give them advice in person, but I would get a runner to tell them to be careful if I knew the drugs were strong. And I would refuse to sell to anyone under 16. I’d even get the runners to ID them if they looked really young.
The only time I would meet customers was when I sold at raves. If someone came up to me and asked for a drug, and I could tell they were too high already, I would refuse. I don’t want someone’s stupid mistake of overdosing on my conscience.
If someone had died taking my drugs, I would have 100 percent felt responsible. It would have played on my mind for the rest of my life. That’s one of the reasons I always sold clean drugs. – Aidan, London
I used to sell heroin. I would take over for my ex-boyfriend when he would go away to prison. I would usually be out grafting and dealing on my pushbike all day; I also dealt crack, but I think heroin is easier to sell without trouble. I was also using both substances, and I think that has an effect on how you treat your customers, though I can’t say I was necessarily nice.
My ex-boyfriend would call all other heroin users “nitties” and say they were horrible, even though he was the one selling to them. But he didn’t use heroin. I’ve introduced people to heroin. I don’t believe that all people that take heroin will go on to be full-blown junkies. I know plenty of occasional users – “giro junkies,” I call them – and they just smoke brown after a session.
However, some become engulfed in a heroin haze and will use until they lose everything. As a user at the time, it wasn’t hard for me to watch. It inflated my ego that I could smoke, sell it, and have a habit and still not be like [my ex-boyfriend]. I’m clean now and am passionate about harm reduction. We need safer injecting, more funding into harm reduction, more funding for treatment centers.
Not everybody who tries it will become dependent, but those who do, they need help. The government’s ways of tackling addiction do not work. – Lucy, Undisclosed Location