Sociological Theme: Drug Dealing

Sociological Theme: Drug Dealing

Sociological theme: Drug Dealing

Data source: Daily Mirror

Key skills:


Sociological skill:

Interpreting data


CHILDREN as young as 14 are earning up to £450 a week dealing drugs, a report has revealed. Youngsters were found selling crack cocaine and heroin in local communities. The four areas studied have not been identified.

The research for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation paints an alarming picture of the scale of the trade on the streets. Often drugs were sold by suppliers to teenage "runners" who passed them on to users living locally.

More than half of the dealers interviewed had grown up in children's homes or with foster parents. Half had been excluded from school before 16 and had left with no qualifications. Virtually all had been in trouble with the police, with two-thirds serving time in jail.

Big-time dealers made average profits of £7,500 a week. Smaller dealers and runners brought in £450 a week, spending most of their cash on their own drug habits. A third of the dealers carried a weapon. Three-quarters were male, with an average age of 31.

Most transactions were arranged in advance over mobile phones, with the exchange of money and drugs taking place in public. Ironically, drug-dealing also boosted local economies, giving the communities access to money and cheap goods, researchers found.

Half of the dealers were prepared to accept stolen goods instead of cash in return for drugs. They also tried to stamp out car crime and burglary in their areas to deter police attention.

Many dealers used their profits to help out friends and families. Links between drug-dealing and local economies showed all sorts of areas were open to the trade.

And to stamp it out, communities needed to work together, said the report. Co-author Professor Mike Hough said: "Some drug markets are closely linked with both the legal and illegal economies of their neighbourhoods. "We found drug-dealing was sometimes run by cohesive groups with family ties and extensive networks of friends."

from an article by Rosa Prince Political Correspondent in the Daily Mirror 29 November 2005

Questions: Knowledge and Understanding

  1. What figure is given for dealers who come from broken homes?
  2. What percentage of dealers were serving in jail?
  3. How many of the dealers carried weapons?
  4. Suggest reasons why 75% of drug dealers are male.
  5. According to the report, how did drug-dealing boost local economies?

Questions: Analysis and Evaluation

  1. To what extent do drug-dealing and drug-using constitute a separate
  • community?
  • culture?
  1. Discuss the view that drug dealing and drug using represent a broken community/socially divided neighbourhood.