Junkie Business: the Evolution and Operation of a Heroin Dealing Network

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1) Brief Overview of the Book Lee D. Hoffer’s “Junkie Business: The Evolution and Operation of a Heroin Dealing Network” is an ethnography that details the buying and dealing of the highly addictive drug, heroin, in the particularly homeless area of Denver, Colorado called “Larimer” from 1995 to the year 2000. The majority of the book focuses on the partnership of two heroin dealers, Kurt and Danny, and examines their daily lifestyles and the transitional periods they faced during their operations. On a much broader level, Hoffer wanted to characterize the heroin dealing occurring on the consumer-oriented side of the heroin dealing business, as well as understand the evolution of Kurt and Danny’s operations. Hoffer’s virtually unlimited…show more content…
Among these rules were that customers could no longer inject themselves at Kurt and Danny’s apartment and customers must respect store-like hours of operation from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Kurt was insistent upon customers following his rules because as a dealer he was no longer able to learn about his customer’s character first hand. The rules were effectively Kurt’s way of judging a customer’s character and trustworthiness, and Hoffer describes their purpose as “an ethic for the dealing network, the rules guided customers’ behaviors and provided their heroin business with a structure.” Customers that followed the rules were rewarded with credit being extended to them, meaning they weren’t required to pay the entire price of the heroin at the time of sale and could pay the remainder back at a specified time. This was extremely important to customers and allowed them to get their drug fix at times when they most needed it and didn't have the money upfront. Extending credit was a reward Kurt gave customers that were honest with him, but if a customer could not be trusted, there was no extension of credit. Additionally, Kurt and Danny’s extension of credit policy and ability to forgive certain debts came from their roots as local junkies themselves. They knew what ‘dope sickness’ was like and remembered what it was like living on the streets and many of the situations their customers were facing. Kurt could be compassionate with

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