Gangs Exploiting Gangs – Meth And Gang Economics

 Gemma Staines , Freelance Writer
January 21, 2015

gang and drugsGangs Exploiting Gangs – Meth And Gang Economics

Drugs are frequently a major part of gang culture. Both dealing them and taking them fuels gang economies and gang solidarity. Indeed, new gang members are frequently encouraged to take illegal drugs, as doing so makes the new member complicit in (and a part of) the lifestyle of the gang, thus simultaneously discouraging the newbie from contact with the law, while encouraging them to feel ‘accepted’ into the gang proper. Gang culture and drug culture are frequently inextricably linked – yet, curiously enough, there is a strong distinction between what may be termed ‘cultural’ and ‘economic’ use of drugs within a gang structure. Gangs which tend to be somewhat more organized, and make their primary income through drug dealing rarely if ever encourage their more important members to do drugs – if they do, the drug use they encourage is that of less addictive, less chemically compromising substances such as marijuana. If the gang is more of a cultural phenomenon, with no economic agenda, which perpetuates crime on a more ad-hoc basis, then the drugs which they take may well be a lot more addictive. The former kind of gang, unfortunately, tends to take advantage of the latter – a situation which can be seen very well in the case of methamphetamine.

Highly Addictive

Methamphetamine – ‘meth’ or ‘crystal meth’ – is a powerfully addictive drug. Users initially experience euphoria, a sense of invincibility, a feeling of intense desirability and sexuality. This incredible ‘high’ is due to the phenomenal amounts of dopamine which meth encourages the brain to release – and it results in one of the quickest developing dependency rates of any drug existing. Scientists believe it to be at least three times as addictive as cocaine. While it is possible to kick a meth habit, it is intensely difficult and may require years of intensive rehabilitation coupled with complete and comprehensively monitored lifestyle change. And even then a former addict may plunge back into addiction if given the option. Meth damages the brain to such an extent that even a ‘recovered’ addict may be unable to resist its allure. Those fully in its throes will never again experience that initial ‘high’, yet will continue to chase the experience despite the horrific effect of meth upon the body and the brain.

Unreliable Influence

Meth has a highly degenerative effect upon humans. Not only does it destroy one’s teeth (resulting in the famed ‘meth mouth’) and ruin one’s skin, but it also removes the body’s ability to repair itself while simultaneously causing tissue damage. This has some truly horrendous cosmetic effects, but the unrepaired damage it wreaks upon brain tissue is more problematic from a gang point of view. Meth users quickly degenerate to such a point that they may become paranoid, and even psychotic. They are certainly not reliable, and can definitely not be considered viable components of a carefully honed (if illegal) economic operation. Meth is therefore much more likely to be used by ‘cultural’ gangs, who may then go out and commit crime while high, but are unlikely to do so with any coherent plan.

Major Economic Operations

Such gangs form easy prey for the more organized form of gang. It is this sort of gang which is the true source of much gang-related societal trouble, as they fuel the gang culture while keeping themselves well out of it. While some enterprising gangs may be inspired to build a ‘Breaking Bad’ style meth lab, most will be content to purchase their ‘ice’ from their friendly neighborhood meth dealer. Who may perhaps be tangentially involved with a ‘cultural’ gang, but is far more likely to be in the pay of an ‘economic’ gang, who ship the stuff to him/her and keep a ruthless eye upon profits. There is considerable evidence that America’s meth problem is fuelled by Chinese and Mexican gangs, which are able to source ingredients and keep a close eye on production while not touching an ounce of the product themselves. While they may employ drug addicts to help with the more menial tasks of entering likely looking neighborhoods and enticing people to try some, they are more likely to use only those who can be trusted and are reliable (i.e. not meth addicts) to take care of their dealings. These gangs thus make a lot of money while suffering none of the physical and mental consequences of meth. Meanwhile, the ‘cultural’ gangs onto whom they shift the stuff suffer not only from the horrific bodily effects of meth, they are also liable to be picked up for petty (and sometimes not so petty) crime as a result of offences committed while under the influence.

A Difficult Issue

The solution is not an easy one to find. Of course, it would greatly help if ‘gang culture’ ceased to glamorize and encourage drug use. If there were no market for it, then the ‘economic’ gangs would not sell their wares in these situations. However, if the more organized gangs equally stopped pushing their drugs onto these groups, then perhaps they’d have a chance to wise up and understand that they’re being exploited. All in all, the problem must be fought both at the source and at the use end of the equation if any tangible difference is to be made.


Posted by on Jan 21 2015. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

1 Comment for “Gangs Exploiting Gangs – Meth And Gang Economics”

  1. bumper

    I agree meth is a bad drug that history shows Adolph Hitlers scientist,chemists are the ones who invented meth in World War ‘ll back in the 1940’s to keep His troops up to fight on the front lines.
    Gangs,Violence & Drugs go hand and hand in the USA and it’s not a big secret as most know. I agree with the eriter to some point in this Article.But in the Meth trade Outlaw MC’s in the USA have had a hand in Distribution & Manufacturing the drug as well.This goes back 40 years or so.It is a trerrible drug that tears the body up completely,from the teeth to lose of weight to spun out of there mind.It’s a mind altering drug that brings sexuality into the mind from the dopamine released as the writer claims.Gangs,Violence & Drugs tear communities up also.

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