Street-level drug market activity in Sydney’s primary heroin markets: organisation, adulteration practices, pricing, marketing and violence
This study is a qualitative exploration of two distinctive high-profile street drug markets in Sydney, Australia. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 32 street-level heroin dealers about their experiences of selling drugs in these areas, market organization, drug adulteration and quality assessment practices, and the extent and impact of violence associated with these markets. Most dealers operated independently, working for themselves or in loosely defined groups of two or three with little or no hierarchy while others acted as "runners," selling for others for a percentage of sales. A range of "folk" or nonscientific methods were employed for testing the quality of drugs, and adulteration or "cutting" of drugs was rare. Moreover, this research suggests that even during periods of heroin scarcity, increased adulteration is not an inevitable outcome. In contrast to popular perceptions, dealers in both areas cooperated with each other, and little intimidatory rivalry was reported or observed. Indeed, most participants considered violence to be fairly rare, largely avoidable, and not an inevitable consequence of their involvement in the market. Numerous popular drug market and drug dealer stereotypes about the two locations were not supported by the findings.
Drugs and Crime
Criminology not elsewhere classified