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Research wall...

Discussion in 'Research' started by DragonOfTheAerie, Feb 2, 2017.

  1. Some information can be found within a few clicks on Google. Some is...not as simple.

    One of the things I planned on researching was heroin. (Apparently a lot of Google searchers have no idea how to spell that.) Now, I'm not actually writing about heroin. I'm writing about a fictional drug that's BASED on heroin. So there's room to play. In this case looking up information isn't really helping. I need stuff more along the lines of how is the stuff generally obtained, how does a drug deal typically go down, how does a person end up dealing, how would you conceal the stuff in between obtaining it and selling it...how does the trade really work? (In my world, it is illegal, but the laws are very, very shoddily enforced.) Details along those lines.

    This is only for like one scene, so I guess I could work around it, but I don't want to have to change something because I can't find the information I need. Anyone have a direction they can point me?
  2. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    This string
    how does a drug deal work
    returned some useful-looking links.
  3. TheKillerBs

    TheKillerBs Inkling

    Yeah, I wouldn't want to have questions about how drug deals go down in my search history either. My best recommendation is to look at cop shows and copy what they do. That's what people expect from fictional deals anyway.
    TheCatholicCrow likes this.
  4. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

    That's where "incognito mode" would come in handy.
  5. TheKillerBs

    TheKillerBs Inkling

    Incognito mode doesn't stop anyone who can see the searches from your IP from the other side, such as your ISP
    Ireth likes this.
  6. oenanthe

    oenanthe Minstrel

    Producers sell it in many kilogram batches
    it's distributed by the kilogram, and cut
    it's distributed by the ounce, and cut again
    it's distributed in single doses (often 1/10th of a gram, probably cut once more)
    the user has it. may cut it again, just in case.

    but that's old information, from living in Vancouver in the 90s.
  7. Malik

    Malik Auror

    Yeah, I'm not touching this one with a ten-meter cattle prod.

    Love ya, kid, but nope.
  8. Well.

    We probably all have the government keeping a close eye on us, being writers.

    My search history is already full of stuff about how to kill people.
    Malik likes this.
  9. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    I don't worry about such things. Governments rarely care unless given reason to care. More likely is getting tracked by corporations and then by black hats who make off with the corporate data. None of whom are going to care much about what fantasy writers are researching. You start worrying about such things and there's no end to it.

    DotA, did you try the search string I suggested?
  10. Not yet, busy day. I'm not home right now. But I'll try.
  11. Unable to find anything helpful. (The second hit was from a self-proclaimed "wikia of misinformation and lies," lol.)

    Thinking of finding a way to circumvent this scene...
  12. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

    I research all kinds of weird things, like how to poison people, remember that one? HA! I also watch a lot of crime tv and shows like The Wire and Justified. So I'll try to shed some light.

    Most drugs come from countries where they grow in the wild, and they're raised by poor farmers who no longer grow things switched to commercial farming as a cash crop. If your drug is a wild plant, it might come from a place where there was war or revolution, or something, and the main population is poor, and the people grow and process drugs as a means to feed their families, because typical agricultural goods are no longer viable cash crops. Or perhaps they're under the control of a cartel that demands they grow drugs rather than food.

    From there, once the drugs are processed into dry powder/ leaves/ etc. (anything that won't rot), they're collected by workers from a cartel or something (because big operations won't tolerate a single grower who strikes out on his own). They're shipped to a place where further refining or processing takes place, and then they're prepared for smuggling. The raw ingredients are transported by various means (to keep from a whole shipment being snatched up in one truck that got pulled over. You could use individual people, commercial transportation, a crime family with delivery trucks, whatever you are thinking is likely in your world. I have a drug like heroin in my world, and it's shipped in on ships by crime bosses who set up refining in a foreign country. They pay heavy bribes to keep the port authority off their backs, and so with the right amount of bribery, there's no need for smuggling.

    Once the drugs hit dry land at their destination port, they'd be packaged into convenient quantities. Maybe that's little parcels or huge crates, whatever works in your world, again.

    There will be middlemen of various sorts. Perhaps the cartel/ crime boss has a few people he gives the shipments to, and those people will pass the product to another dozen each. With several steps remove, the original leader of the operation doesn't make face to face contact with more than a few people. That keeps him clean and innocent in the law's eyes.

    The raw product is usually very potent, too much for street use. So there will be certain middlemen whose job it is to just cut the drugs with benign agents. Sometimes those people are employed by the top dealers, the first in the line of actual sales. Once that is done, midlevel dealers will get the product from their betters, and their job is to package a larger weight of cut and ready drugs into salable sizes. They'll have street dealers who receive larger quantities, in ounces or whatever, for a discounted "wholesale" rate, and then they'll break it down into street level sizes. Each set of hands the drugs pass through, there are a couple things that happen. One, the price goes up, and two, the quality declines. * potentially

    You can cut out any of those steps, absolutely, for simplicity's sake in a story, of course.

    When the drugs hit the street, they'll have certain places they're regularly sold. It's like any other product. You don't go to a hair salon to buy shoes, and so most dealers will use the same places repeatedly, or the same contacts, to sell their products. I use the red light district in my books. It's not patrolled by the city, and it's the sort of place where night life allows for freer movement.

    Many drug dealers grew up in the lifestyle. Their parents were dealers, their friends are dealers, and it's part of their neighborhood. Most dealers aren't addicts, because that's counterintuitive. Some users, however, buy wholesale from street dealers and cut again and deal because they get their own personal use stuff for free that way, but it's a slippery slope.

    Young people are often employed to deal because they look innocent. Almost all dealers of illegal substances will have had to pass through the ranks. First, they'd be lookouts who warn the real dealers when the cops are coming. Then, once they've proven loyal and useful, they'll deliver the tiny packages of drugs to the client, who would pay the money man around the corner. This way, no one is caught with both the cash and the drugs. Plausible deniability.

    If a dealer is working for someone higher up, there is danger both with handling the money or the product. If you lose whatever you're assigned to keep track of...justice is swift and mostly painful. Drug dealers higher up in the food chain have bodyguards and entourage who are paid handsomely to just be armed and ready. Mid level dealers and some street dealers are employees and don't actually buy the drugs at all, but work on consignment, I suppose. They get a package, are told to get rid of it for a certain amount of cash, and then must deliver the cash by a certain time to their higher ups. If there's a problem, it comes down directly on them.

    Where there is money and valuable goods worth money...there will be crooks. Scavengers who are looking for easy pickings. If a low level dealer is caught flatfooted at a deal, he might be robbed and then he'd have to face his boss with excuses. The boss might declare open season on the thief, or he might leave the underling to deal with it under threat of pain or death.

    Competition is fierce, and if a dealer can find a product somewhere else cheaper...they'll take the risk. Discerning clients will go to people they trust and usually have to pass certain loyalty tests to be given an opportunity to switch loyalties. Again, a slippery slope.

    Within this culture, paranoia is rampant, loyalty is questioned, and people are killed for any number of reasons. There's a reason gangs deal drugs, because you need a lot of manpower to get everything set up, and once it's set up, it's a corporation of sorts. The more people you have involved, the more money you make at the top, and it's just the street level people who go to jail.

    Hope that helps. Almost all of this came from watching the two shows I mentioned, but they both had very different perspectives. The Wire focuses on gangs and inner city residents of Baltimore, and Justified is set in rural Kentucky.
  13. Oh, thanks, this is really helpful!

    I might need to steal your poisons research too lol. Our research seems to overlap a lot...
  14. Alyssa

    Alyssa Troubadour

    I know what you mean. The cops turn up at your doorstep, saying they're suspicious about drugs on the premises. You can either try and be sneaky about it, or you can just tell them you're a writer, it's a catch-22 whichever way you slice it.
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2017
  15. calm down guys, we've all had to research all manner of shady things. :p (there's a lot of poison and lock-picking research in my near future.) no one has yet showed up at my door suspecting me of being a hitman, I'll be fine.

    Anyway, I've no idea where else to look for research purposes. I suppose it wouldn't be amiss to BS some stuff that could be believable for a non-Earth world.

    Edit: But, I've been wondering if there's something different and better I can do with this scene. I have no ideas on that, which is problematic.

    But if I'm going to include the drugs (even without this scene, the fictional drug is still important in the story), would it be plausible to have people steal the product from dealers and sell it themselves, or even from people smuggling it? If a few people have the business monopolized in an area, would this be more plausible? Hmmmmmm...
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2017
  16. Btw, this isn't a modern setting. The tech level is vaguely Victorian era and it's post-apocalyptic so the world is kind of a wreck.

    (I might actually get farther researching the opium trade, come to think of it. Hmmmph.)
  17. I don't tend to research anything for my books, if at all.
  18. Some books work that way. Others do not. Personally, I'm enjoying adding realism and factual detail to my story.
  19. ^If yours is grounded somewhat, mine must be in space by now! :p
  20. Michael K. Eidson

    Michael K. Eidson Archmage

    I still remember the nightmare that Steve Jackson Games endured in 1990 because the Secret Service thought their Cyberpunk game material was a handbook for computer crime.

    SJ Games vs. the Secret Service

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