Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Wanna put a drug dealer out of business? Tell his Mom

What to do when drug dealers no longer fear the police? Find someone they DO fear, like their mothers.

The Wall Street Journal reports on a new police tactic aimed at stopping youthful drug dealers: Informing their families combined with threats of prosecution. ("Novel police tactic puts drug markets out of business," Sept. 27). Offenders who agree to stop selling drugs are not arrested.

That will probably work well. Readers of the book Freakonomics will recall that a large proportion of drug dealers live with their parents. This ingeniously simple strategy takes advantage of that odd fact. Via the Austinist.

UPDATE: Blogging at Alternet, Lindsay Beyerstein writes:
I'm not sure exactly how I feel about this. On the one hand, any strategy that deescalates the War on Drugs is a good thing. Still, I'm not entirely comfortable with the police essentially blackmailing third parties to reign in their adult family members.
Maybe it is "blackmail," thinks me, but since police had the goods to prosecute the kids, anyway, I'm not sure I see the harm - if I were the drug dealing youth, or the kid's family, I'd rather have a choice than no choice and prosecution, which is the other option. Still, it certainly does put the family in a coercive situation - on the other hand, so did the kid's bad choices. This tactic might give some Moms or grandmothers leverage with their children they might not have on their own - using the strength of the system to reinforce family bonds rather than sever them. That seems to me like an improvement over the status quo for all concerned.


800 pound gorilla said...

Yeah, that will work with the "recreational" dealers, but not the ones who deal to support an addiction. They got addicted because of weak family ties. We could probably do a lot more to crack down on business people who facilitate transfers of banned drugs for a "cut of the action" while addicts - or ridiculously poor people - take all the risks of incarceration. It takes more work and convictions won't be as easy because these sleazebags have lots more resources - not spending all their profits on product.

Anonymous said...

From my real world experiences of drug dealers in the neighborhood I grew up in, parents advocated for their kids street pharmaceutical activities. In one case, I was classmates with the younger brother of one of the drug dealers, and I over heard the mother ask her son, "how much money did you make for momma today?" In their case and I assume with others in lower socio economic areas, drug dealing activities supplement the family income.

Anonymous said...

I like this idea. I dealt drugs until last year and I can say that I would much rather have had someone snitch to my mom and dad than to my local police department. Things should be like they used to be when people took care of the problems in their neighborhood themselves instead of calling 911 or some anonymous tip line(which is weak ass if you ask me)!!!

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