Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Diary: BUSTED. One Less Dealer - 10 More Problems

DIARY: A small time drug dealer was busted last week and instead of one less dealer on the streets, we got a string of events that racked up about $100, 000 of costs to the government, one nearly dead and plenty of devastated lives. Is busting small time dealers really worth it and who really benefits from it? ... And are these small time dealers the ‘scourge of society’ as we are constantly being told? The stupidity of our drug policies are becoming common knowledge as more and more people are effected by it. The silly actions stemming from the law & order aspect is contradictory and I wonder how long before (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) L.E.A.P. start a branch in Australia. My dealer got busted the other day. While most might think this is a good outcome, the ramifications were disastrous. My dealer is Vietnamese and a heroin addict. He sells heroin to support the habits of his wife and himself. He has a small but steady cliental who he knows personally from the years of supplying them heroin. There are rarely disputes and he is certainly cautious about what he sells and how much he sells it for. He keeps about 10-15 addicts with a steady supply and we know his gear is fairly much safe compared to just buying it from an unknown. His wife works part time and he shares the caring of their child with his mother as they all live in the one house. The mother works from home and puts in 12-14 hours every day with work and looking after other younger family members. The proceeds from the dealing only supports their habits and the mother kicks in a few hundred dollars each month to top up the cash needed to score. They have a finely balanced lifestyle which is hand to mouth but she manages to educate her children and keep her family in a modest but loving family. So one morning, 7 police officers smash down his door (a bungalow at the side of the main house) and raid him. He just tells them where the drugs are but not satisfied, they rip his whole room up. As he is thrown up against the wall, he tries to alert them there is a child sleeping in the bed but he is smashed in the face by a female police officer. As he is panicking and yelling to stop, he is repeatedly smashed in the face now by 2 officers. Too late, 4-5 heavy boxes have been thrown on his young daughter who is now dazed and crying. Meanwhile a few officers are in the main house where they have demanded his mother hand over all her “drug money”. She can’t speak English so they take from her purse $70 and leave. The dealer is escorted to the police station and charged with supply of a narcotic (6 x .4 gram deals). There is no mention of the $70 from his mother or the $660 they took from his pocket. Incidentally, for the last 5 years since he previously got busted, whenever his mother is spotted driving around by a certain few police officers, they pull her over and take all her money. She can’t speak English and after copping a slap across the face when she first protested, she just gives them what they want. I actually wrote an official complaint on their behalf but never received any confirmation of my complaint. I had also emailed the police twice about his mother and still, no response. What happens when a supplier of a commodity is removed from the scene for a period of time? Buyers go elsewhere ... they don’t magically disappear. One regular client went to the city in desperation and found a dealer in 15 minutes. He paid $200 ($60 more than usual), went home and overdosed. He had been given some filler chemical and it poisoned him. He is still in hospital and with no income, his family is suffering greatly. He owns a gardening business and employs a helper who has also lost his income. A few of us have started to do his regular jobs until he is well enough to get back to work. The dealer organised it out of guilt. So what was the outcome of busting this heroin dealer? One person nearly dead, his family in disarray with financial problems, his business losing regular clients daily, his employee without a job. Another two people needing money desperately to treat their addiction, preparing to go to jail for about a year or two, having to build up enough money to start over again. A traumatised child who had several heavy boxes lobbed on top of her whilst asleep, having to live without her father when he goes to jail. A family missing an adult who does most of the running around like shopping, taking his wife to work, taking kids to and from school etc., a family missing much needed money that went to corrupt cops. A busted door. 10-15 addicts doomed to buy their drugs from unknown sources. Oh and one more statistic for the police to say they are being “tough on drugs”. Stopping this small dealer, didn’t stop the flow of drugs one iota. It had no positive effect on society but cost us lots of money ... jail for the dealer for about 1-2 years, 7 police officers, hospital for overdose, employee on the dole, his wife on the dole and more. The dealer had a choice to sell drugs to addicts who were going to buy them anyway, steal cars, burgle houses or rob people, or get a job paying over $100K per year. he chose the most practical without having to resort to crime that would hurt people. That’s his nature. He refuses to take stolen property for heroin and he frowns upon addicts who rob people and usually doesn’t have them as clients. He even arranged to help the guy who overdosed. He is not a bad person but according to our drug policy and many Australians, he is the scum of the earth. The whole crazy situation could have been avoided if Australia had prescription heroin. None of this would have happened and the dealer and family along with the overdose victim would not have been in such a precarious position. As we have seen, policing does nothing but cost society a lot of money and make criminals out of people with addictions. It’s almost like a story line from a science fiction novel. I can imagine 20 years from now when we look back to the “dark old days” and how for 50 years we were so terrified of addiction that we tried to rub it out, killing over a million people in the process. I wonder why other countries offer prescription heroin with great success but we don’t. Will it change? Will incidents like the above keep happening? and if so, for how long?


phallacy said...

Terry, the dealer & his customers & YOU have a choice that you didn't mention, stop using.
Hedonist that i am, I'm fully in favour of people getting off howsoever they choose but this sort of weepy story is an own goal.
I had to laff tuther day when Wodak made his (always) reasonable contribution to the drug debate. On 2UE Mike Carlton was in favour and his co-host Sandy Aloisi was "emotionally anti" as she acknowledged. A couple of callers were heard, Aloisi doing her "no, no" but then came out with the extraordinary rationalisztion "we've been telling our kids pot is bad for all these years, we can't just stop..."
So if you've been lying to your kids, and yourself, that the world is flat and the moon is made of green cheese, proof that it's untrue must be ignored because of your past mendacity?
Yep, that's the logic of the drug war.

Sarah said...

phallacy, how does that justify the actions of the police in this instance? If what's here is true, I'm sure the police themselves must have broken a few laws and codes that they're supposed to abide by.

Terry Wright said...

Thanks Phallacy & Sarah.

Phallacy: Terry, the dealer & his customers & YOU have a choice that you didn't mention, stop using.

Some of the users I know are in it for the kicks and got hooked but these guys usually do give up after about a year. They come and go. But some of them don't have a simple choice. It's like choosing to become left handed when you're not. The choice to give up is not just quitting but a huge life change. They are the long term users with jobs and families who have tried to quit several times. Trying to quit when you're not ready is pointless.

I am a bit different in that I use only 12 times a year. It is a decision agreed upon with my doctors to address physiological craving. It works well and until I am confident I can reduce or stop it, then what's the difference between the morphine I take every day and heroin? It's better than 500-600 times a year though.

Sarah: If what's here is true...

Are you doubting a junkie, Sarah? :-)

phallacy said...

Terry - Physiological or psychological craving, call it what you will but let me put another autonomy failure to you.
have you ever know a junkie to give up and NOT rely on a substitute such as excessive alcohol or that most evil of addictive drugs, tobacco?
Can't say that I have and I've seen many a friend, acquaintance and stranger disappearing down a syringe.
One of the most telling things is watching someone cooking, fitting & fixing with a cig. on the go. While still on the nod, they reach for the fag.
And people claim smack is a problem.

bron said...

Hi Terry,

What about writing to the Victorian (and maybe Federal) Ombudsman? Emailing the pleece is a joke -- they'll always ignore us small people.

Anonymous said...

Here here! Prescription Heroin would stop the social problems caused by Heroin prohibition overnight. And whats more it would kill off the international Heroin trade. Dealers only deal Heroin because of the guaranteed stream of regular return customers. Without addicts to sell to there would be no real margin to bother with, especially when weighed up against the risk.

Terry Wright said...

Thanks Anon.

Summed up perfectly.