Earning a Score: An Exploration of the Nature and Roles of Heroin and Crack Cocaine User-Dealers

Leah Moyle, Ross Coomber

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Research consistently shows a strong correlation between heroin/crack cocaine use, acquisitive crime and income generation, through activities such as sex work and theft. Less is known however about alternative choices of income generation such as small-scale drug supply. Drawing on data from interviews with 30 heroin and crack cocaine user-dealers in a city in South West England, this article explores the motivations, practices and roles undertaken by small-scale addicted suppliers who distribute drugs to other addicted users for the purpose of reproducing their own supply. Findings suggest that addicted user-dealers’ motivations are commonly different to those of commercially motivated suppliers, while their activities are perceived as a less harmful and a more convenient way of funding their drug dependency than other acquisitive crimes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)534-555
Number of pages22
JournalBritish Journal of Criminology
Issue number3
Early online date7 Jan 2015
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Jan 2015

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