Buying and selling crack: Transactions at the retail level and the role of user-sellers

Alberto Oteo Pérez*, Annemieke Benschop, Dirk J. Korf

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


To assess key characteristics of the retail crack market and the role of users as buyers and sellers, data from a survey inside and outside institutional setting among 1,039 crack users in the three largest Dutch cities were analyzed to explore their role in the crack market as buyers and sellers. Of the total number of users, 42.3% bought crack in public places, 39.6% through home delivery, and 13.9% at dealer's addresses. Near one-third reported participating in selling drugs, defining themselves as "go-betweens" (21.4%) or "dealers" (9.2%). User-sellers and nonselling users did not differ with regard to gender and ethnicity. Cluster analysis resulted in three distinct types of user-sellers (freelancers, assistants, and amateurs), each characterized by time spent selling drugs, type of drugs sold, and earnings. Amateurs seem quite similar to what scholars have labeled "social dealers" in recreational drugs markets. This study suggests the need for a more differentiated law enforcement policy toward drug-selling users.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-68
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Drug Issues
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


  • Crack
  • Drug dealing
  • Heroin
  • Quantity
  • Retail drug market
  • Typology


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