Are drug dealers raising their prices due to inflation?
It’s already affecting the weekly shop, but will coke be getting more costly? Simon Doherty speaks to four dealers to see if the cost-of-living crisis is hitting their trade.
The cost of living crisis is getting tense. I’ve already decided that I’m not turning my boiler on ever again and I’m one step away from taking a bunch of heavy-duty power packs into work so I can charge my devices at home using their power. With everything from rent to a pint to even a sandwich going up in price, I decided to ask drug dealers if they were going to put their prices up due to inflation rates. For my own personal safety, the dealers featured in this article are heavily anonymised. I was told to report no names or locations – but they are all based in London.
“Hey bud,” Dealer One, a man who sells weed, said. “How can I help?” He has an ever-expanding and increasingly absurd litany of names for the product he sells – “Super Lemon Haze”, “Alien Kush”, “Frosty OG” etc. – but weed is just weed in England. It’s almost all grown here and none of it really comes from dispensaries in California, as many dealers claim.
There’s a common misconception about drug dealers, often espoused by teachers, coppers and my mum who “watches nothing but GB News these days because it’s the old Sky lot”: that they are dodgy, untrustworthy and nasty people who might repeatedly stab your nan in the eye. The reality could not be further from the truth. Dealers are actually, on the whole, trustworthy people who don’t cheat or mistreat customers because that’s incredibly bad for business.
I asked him if there were any plans to increase the prices due to skyrocketing inflation. “That’s insane, bud,” he chuckled. “No, it was the same before and it’s going to be the same in the future.” He added: “Let me know if you need anything.” I like Dealer One. He has the boisterous optimism of a coach running a summer camp for kids. I’m sure he’ll go far in this trade.
Then we had Dealer Two, a guy selling DMT bottles (“2ml for £110, 3ml for £150 and 5ml for £230”) for people who want to spend 10 minutes gawking at geometric shapes and tiny goblin-like creatures. Also “real” (fake) Ray Bans for £40. I raised the possibility of inflation hitting the drug world. He laughed. “It’ll stay the same price, yeah, don’t worry about that,” he insisted. “I haven’t heard of the prices rising myself, bro.” Why are all the dealers laughing? Inflation has become a serious business for us all.
Dealer Three sells ket. It’s £20 for one gram, £45 for an eighth (3.5g) and £8k for a kilo. “The price is fixed, g,” he said, assuring me it wouldn’t be increasing any time soon. “What are you looking for?” He wasn’t in the mood for a chat unless I was buying.
Dealer Four sells coke, it’s a small operation selling “usually around one or two grams a time.” He had a shaved head, a North Face hoodie and is very clear that he doesn’t drop off after 9PM. He labours that point, as if it was some kind of massive bone of contention.
I asked him if he thinks that the prices of his drugs would rise as the result of inflation and the cost of living crisis. “It’s the same,” he replied. “It did go up a couple of years ago but it’s not changed since. It’s between £40 and £60 for half a gram.” He added: “But if the price of everything goes up I’m sure it might trickle down to us at some point. It’s like 2008 again, isn’t it? We can’t go on strike, though.”
After an afternoon of speaking to dealers, I came to just one conclusion: it seems that, for now, the only people who aren’t ripping us off, profiteering and generally fucking us all over are the hard-working drug dealers of London. They work long hours, sometimes in difficult circumstances, and they’ve recently taken a real-terms pay cut. Maybe they should unionise.
Are you struggling with drugs? Click here to see a list of organisations that can help and click here for information about how the NHS can help. If you think there might be a drug-related emergency do not hesitate to ring 999 – you will never be in trouble for doing this.