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No matter what we say here, or how sympathetic we make these people out to be, at the end of the day, drug dealers are criminals, and crime is generally illegal. It's a shocker, we know. There are plenty of legitimate ways to make money, so drug dealers break into this terrible profession for one reason and one reason only: pure, unadulterated greed. Normal jobs are good enough for the rest of us, but drug dealers want more -- they want fancy coats, fast cars, hookers, and ... to pay college tuition?
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Mo' money, mo' credit hours.
J, an 18-year-old high school senior, has been trying to get a job since he was 15, but where he lives, that's just not possible. "We are right next to [a military base], so every time all the soldiers are deployed, we have nothing.... No one buys anything, the stores close, we don't have jobs." He has three siblings and two parents on disability, and he wants to go to college -- drugs are the only way he can see to pay his tuition come the fall, at which point he hopes to be able to find a normal, legal job. "If I can get a job, I won't have to sell drugs anymore, and I can just be a regular college student," he says hopefully. "It really sucks to do this, to be honest."
Weirdly enough, that big drug dealer study also found that the most profitable dealers tended to make more money at their normal jobs. If you can hustle blow and weed and E, you've probably got hustle at whatever you do in the legal world. After all, being a good drug dealer takes skills that are useful in any professional environment: social skills, initiative, discipline, and being able to tell at a glance if somebody is about to buy a shitload of drugs.
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Like we've been subtly alluding to during this whole article, anti-drug PSAs and anti-drug education don't paint a terribly accurate picture of drug use, the surrounding culture, or the repercussions. So part of drug dealing is, believe it or not, educating people as to how to use drugs safely and responsibly -- you don't want your clients to overdose because that's bad for business, and also because drug dealers aren't all cartoonish monsters with no souls.
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"You want souls? That shit'll cost you another bill, maybe two."
"When I was in [a school anti-drug program], they spent an entire month on marijuana, then three to four weeks on every other drug, then one day for alcohol," says Roy. "I once had a buyer who thought Reefer Madness was a documentary. ... I offered him some weed, and he acted like I was trying to kill his family with a spoon. ... I spent 45 minutes, maybe an hour, explaining to him how wrong that was."
But it doesn't stop there, because once kids find out that they've been lied to about weed, they assume they've been lied to about everything else, too. "I had a sophomore come up last week and ask for an 8-ball of cocaine. ... I'm not giving a sophomore that cocaine. Kid's like 5 feet 2 inches, 100 pounds. He would die." When all drugs are lumped together, kids start to think of them as different flavors of ice cream, when in reality they're more like different species of snakes. Weed may be as harmless as a garter snake whose heart is filled with love, but meth is more like a king cobra whose venom sacs are filled with meth. "Once or twice a semester someone will say, 'Give me all the meth you have!'" Roy tells us, because apparently his high school is populated by enthusiastic 1930s businessmen, "and I'm like 'I don't have any, and I don't want to have any. Please don't buy meth!'"
Cracked Pro Tip: Smoking rock candy is a great way to gain all the social benefits of meth use with none of the open sores.
No, we didn't go looking for a drug dealer at the stupidest high school in the country -- according to studies, this is exactly the effect anti-drug campaigns have had on youth. One of the biggest impacts of the 1990s anti-drug PSAs was actually to convince kids all their friends were smoking pot. "All the cool kids are doing it," the PSAs told us, and we immediately booked out the window to score weed. "But that doesn't mean you have to," the PSAs finished, too late.
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Drug dealers are pretty much the terrorists of street-level police work, so when the cops finally get a chance to bust out the door smashers and heavily armored vans, they don't hesitate to film hilarious fan fictions about themselves using them. When C's husband got busted, it was like being on the receiving end of a full Die Hard.
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Or at least a Live Free or Die Hard.
"They looked for him a few times, came to our apartment, always in the dead of night. The times he wasn't there it was only three or four officers," she says, describing the time when her husband was on the lam. "And when they finally found him thanks to a tip, there were easily a dozen officers, some who looked like a SWAT team. ... The street was just lined with police cars and undercover cars, and there were a number of cops that stayed outside."
C's husband had no criminal record aside from drug charges -- no violent crimes, no reason to believe he had weapons; he'd never even been in a bar fight. But it didn't matter, because the cops wanted to show off how big their truck-muscles were -- and apparently that's not that weird. Imagine yourself in the SWAT team's position: You have all this intensive training, crazy body armor, friggin' black urban tanks ... and they're all just sitting around gathering dust, because not every day can be a bank heist day. They're probably just bored, and as a drug dealer, you're today's entertainment.
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But their gas money and army costumes are paid for by drug busts, so it's fine.
Robert Evans is sort of a journalist. He runs Cracked's personal experience article team, and you can find him here.
Related Reading: Yesterday Cracked took you inside the life of a bomb technician. We also helped a doctor tell you all the things he dare not say in person. We took a trip inside Scientology, with a member of its secret space navy and we also shared the story of a woman raised in a fundamentalist cult. Got a story to tell Cracked? We're always listening.