Filed under: Drug Politics
Bruce K. Alexander, a prof at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, B.C., has numerous writings on drugs and crime which are well worth studying.
With his latest treatise, Rise and Fall of the Official View of Addiction, Alexander assassinates the traditional view of addiction. While never ignoring the role of the individual, “dislocation” theory places the root of addiction at the injustices and discombobulations of societies, rather than the weakness and sickness of people who develop drug dependencies.
As Alexander concludes:
Addiction is one of the windows through which we can view the widespread psychological malaise and the underlying structural problems of a tottering civilization…
While recognizing the importance of treatment and harm reduction, [Alexander] puts the greatest emphasis on … fundamental social change as the most important means of bringing addiction under control.
In other words, ’til the Revolution comes, what else can I do but keep on nodding through these end times. Makes more sense than being a sick, weak willed screw-up, doesn’t it?
Who can you trust? You’re damned lucky if you have some people in your life you can trust. Dylan sings “trust yourself”. Yeah, that’s a good one. But it’s frigging fantastic when you can trust somebody else as well.
This is a little story about how trust cost us more than a loss of faith, it cost a shitload of money. Why? Because we trusted a dealer and the bastard broke his word to us because he could get himself a few more bucks by doing so. Yeah, we were fools to trust this dealer. But then again, there was a time he wasn’t just a dealer, he was kind of a friend.
Our relationship with this dealer lasted years. We never had a problem with him. His prices were considerably less than anyone else we’d come upon. We saw him regularly for three years prior to going on methadone. Then we saw him regularly for three years after starting up again. During those times he was our primary source for morphine. And morphine was our primary drug of daily use.
To make a long story shorter (to use a common turn of phrase) the second time we started buying from this fellow he said we could run up a tab with him since, in the past, we’d always cleared our bill. Okay, that was cool. However, we’d been fucked around by this sort of relationship in the past with other dealers ending up changing the terms on us and leaving us not high and dry, so to speak. For example, suddenly stopping selling, when we owed a couple thousand, and demanding payment, which left us penniless to try and find someone else to score from. So we were fairly leery about putting all our eggs into his basket, and then having him take the basket away. Once burned, twice shy… or something like that.
We said, “okay, we’ll deal with you, but we don’t want to find ourself in a situation where we become dependent on you and then you fuck us around”. He promised that the terms of our arrangement wouldn’t change, and that he’d honour our relationship with him. We’d get a big front, and when we paid it off, we’d get another big front. The size of the front being large enough to last long enough for us to using (keep well, even high) while we took the time to get together enough bucks to go see him again. Basically we got two to four weeks worth of dope, and by the time it was about used up we’d usually always gotten enough to pay for it.
Our primary worry was we didn’t want him finding someone else who was willing to pay a couple dollars more per pill, and then switch over to selling to that person, leaving us nothing but an outstanding bill and no new front we paid it. He promised he wouldn’t do that. In fact, he said he liked our arrangement. It saved him from having to nickle and dime sell. It was worth it to him to sell to us cheap, and receive a guarentee of a few thousand on schedule, as opposed to the hassle of selling a few here and there for ultimately a bit more money. As for finding someone who was willing to have the exact same relationship, but pay more in total, he said “hey, I consider you guys friends, so I wouldn’t do that to you”.
But he did that to us. After three years (this time) of never missing a payment, never jerking him around, of basically operating with a relationship that seemed like more than just a business thing, he fucked us around. He sold us out, left us dry and not high, for a few more bucks. The fucking lying piece of shit bastard!
We should have seen it coming. Why? Because he started spending large on consumer shit. And then complaining to us about his bills. He bought a $25,000 Harley. He bought a super fancy high def 3-D tv. He bought this, he bought that. (Or should I say, we bought all that for him?) He was even running up his credit – the greedy prick. Here we’re handing him thousands and thousands of dollars, and he’s complaining to us about his money problems. We should have seen it coming.
A telephone call. The bastard didn’t even have the jam to tell us face to face. He says “ah, I can’t really afford to do it this way anymore. I’m going to need the money up front… blah blah blah”. Basically he only floated us for a month max, but now a month was too long for him to wait for his paycheque from us. Why? Because he over-spent and then didn’t have the cash in hand when his monthly bills came due, and he was going to miss a couple payments and then start chaulking up interest.
So instead of blaming himself for getting in debt, he blames us. We who always paid. And on time. It’s just he needed some bucks that day, and we weren’t due to show up to pay him for a couple weeks. So instead of eating his shit, he decided to fuck us over, and find someone who would pay him, and pay him right then. And pay him a bit more per pill too. Ah sweet deal for him, the greedy lying asshole.
So here we were, out there doing our thing, working to get the money to take to him for the last front, expecting another, and he says “sorry, can’t front anymore”. So we gotta pay the bill, and then double it, all at once, to get the sufficient amount of dope to carry us while we get some more cash together. Now that just wasn’t gonna happen. We couldn’t get double the bucks together quick, not unless we resorted to some real heavy shit and we really didn’t want to go there.
Not that it would have mattered anyhow. It was already a done deal. He had already sold all his shit to the new guy who had cash in hand. Of course, he didn’t say that. He made it seem like it wasn’t his fault that we couldn’t make the new arrangement happen. Essentially telling us, it’s too bad we couldn’t pay our bill, and then afford to buy what we needed, but well, that’s unfortunate, but hey, shit happens, right?
Of course he knew we wouldn’t pay our outstanding bill if we weren’t also going to get something to take away (as had been the arrangement for the preceeding three years). But that didn’t matter to him. He’d already got the cash he needed to pay his bills, and furthermore, he’d gotten himself a new and slightly more prosperous arrangement then the one he’d had with us. So what if it cost him a bit of a conscience that it turns out he never had anyways.
All those times he promised he would never jack us around for a few extra bucks. All those times he said, “I know what its like and I won’t leave you hurting. Never!”. Ah, more the fools were we, eh? And more the wiser now.
In November 2010 hundreds of Brazilian police invade shantytown neighbourhoods (favelas) in Rio de Janeiro to arrest (kill) “drug gangs and traffickers”. At least 42 people died, many more wounded, while not many arrests were made. See pictures from Boston Globe.