Cocaine dealers hurt by recession

New York magazine reports that business has dropped off for cocaine dealers because of the recession. The article doesn't say how much coke is selling for these days. Could our coke-sniffing readers please provide that information in the comments?
Before condos in Williamsburg started selling at a loss and weekend flights to L.A. dropped to under $200, New York's cocaine dealers were supplying good times to people who indulged like the party wouldn't end. Before the recession, "I was making deliveries every night of the week," says Eddie, a middle-aged man who exclusively deals cocaine. (All names have been changed.) At the height of his career, in early 2008, Eddie sold eight-balls to hipsters, financiers, and Upper West Side high-school students. "Back then, I could afford to pick and choose. If I didn't know the address – forget it. If I didn't like their accent – forget it. On most nights, there were more people wanting than I could get to."
(Via DoseNation)


  1. Cocaine sells for $30-60 per gram in the Seattle area. The price varies greatly based on location and quality.

  2. In NYC these days, a gram of good-enough cocaine goes for $80 via a known dealer. The price is pretty much the same for, say, a bartender-brokered deal — but the quality drops noticeably. My guy has been offering a deal to his regulars: high-quality 3 grams for $300. That may sound like a lot, but the quality is so high that it’s worth making the “investment.” As he once told me, “I can make your bag as big as you want.”

  3. when i lived in the netherlands, the price of heroin could be tracked to the street price of a used (stolen) bicycle. 1 hit = 1 bike

  4. Be careful, kids. Evidently a third of the US’s supply of blow is cut with some kind of veterinary de-worming medication. Don’t blame your dealer, apparently this happens at the production level.

  5. You guys all have really bad dealers, i can get pure cocaine right off the boat at 50 a gram in the great NYC area. I also doubt the validity of that story, I know a couple people who deal coke and they’re all making a killing still.

  6. “Evidently a third of the US’s supply of blow is cut with some kind of veterinary de-worming medication.”

    So, what, you DO want worms?

  7. i used to buy cocaine and cut it with glass powder. it would give you a nose bleed you had no chance of stopping on your own.

    fun times

  8. In upstate NY there is a rise in prescription drug crime. People making desperate robbery attempts at pharmacies or robbing the home of someone they know has painkillers.

    Meth is also a problem in the area.

  9. Hawley,

    “Used to”, or did it once and never sold it on (or, indeed, imagined doing it)?

    Also: why?

  10. You made that up, Hawley. Ground up glass won’t give you a nose bleed. Try using a more convincing urban legend next time.

  11. I bet there’s a big difference between the change in coke business depending on what kind of business the particular dealer was used to.

    The guy dealing to folks that were already at or near the bottom of the economic ladder isn’t going to feel a difference. The guy dealing to the serious addicts isn’t going to feel much of a diffence. If your customer base is mostly crack heads or the types that are so far-gone in their addiction that they are going to let anything else go before they give up the drugs, you’re going to be just fine.

    If your customer base is people who are middle to upper class and use cocaine as an occasional party treat or little personal luxury from time to time, the coke is going to be one of the first things to go when the budget belt needs tightened.

  12. Here in Glasgow, Scotland the price varies from £30 – £60 / gramme
    Dunno how that compares.
    Doesn’t seem to have affected amount of people using either.

  13. crackheads don’t do cocaine. crack =/= cocaine. cocaine is for rich kids, hipsters, execs, and people with money. I think it’s fair to say the majority (however slim) of people use coke on an occasional basis, not a daily one.

  14. The corners are like on the high street: a recession culls the less successful players from the game.

    Maybe the type of person who doesn’t know much about dealing, and will be badly affected by a slight drop in demand, is the same type who would give an interview about it to New York Magazine.

    I mean, there’s only two dealers mentioned in the article. These guys don’t sound like shit, no wonder they’re broke.

  15. Five years ago, I was getting it at 30-40/gram, and 100/8-ball every day. Good stuff too. These days in my neck of the woods, its up to about 70 per gram, and 200 and up per ball. I saw an ounce go for 600 years ago, and a few months ago I saw one go for twice that.

    Prices in my area have always varied, with our close proximity to the entry point into the country, and the interstates coming through my city. Also, the constant pressure from the police has helped keep things tricky.

  16. This comment on the article is korrect:

    “I think it’s pretty obvious why these guys are going out of business: they’re bush league coke dealers. Legit coke dealers know their product is their safety net, meaning that by selling a highly addicted product they’re ensuring repeat business.

    In my humble opinion, the mistake the guys in the article made is that they were all stepping on their product too much. Sure, this maximizes short-term profit. But, in the long-term, they’re no better than the schmuck who hawked sub-prime loans or issued credit default swaps on mortgaged-backed securities.

    You want to do good business; you have to sell the best product. These guys are just getting their comeuppance for years of trying to shortchange customers with an inferior product. Nice try playing big-time, but go back to selling crack, you fucks.”

    By NYAaron on 08/31/2009 at 9:00am

  17. Sounds like the guys in the article just need to watch The Wire. Either that, or read this comment thread, to increase sales.

  18. “Cocaine is nature’s way of telling you that you’re making too damn much money.” – Robin Williams

  19. Meh .Cocaine’s dangerous: take too much at once, you die. IIRC it excites and then depresses, the CNS, including (finally) the respiratory reflex. that is , an overdose causes you to stop breathing.

    Why not just make cheap safe and effective marijuana legal, instead?

    1. Because marijuana and cocaine are completely different drugs with completely different effects? It’s like questioning why someone is eating rice when they could be eating french fries instead. They’re not replacements for each other.

  20. Over my near 25 years of drug usage and occasionally, sales, I’ve noticed an upswing in cocaine during Republican administrations so I’m expecting pot to make a big comeback soon.

  21. People in the Boulder area pay about $50 a gram. Denver, I have no idea. But Denver’s drug market is kind of terrifying.

  22. Fantasy story – if you’re drug dealing is going under there is something wrong with your product, or your understanding of the market. Weekend users, white-collar PWUDs (not injectors) will be the first the reduce use based on financial standing. But often they are also the users who don’t exert the choice of a “free market” and just pay whatever for whatever.

    Daily users know their product, know what good value for money is. Unsurprisingly the media is totally clueless. But that’s no great surprise.

    Ugly Canuk: Any drug is only as dangerous as a society is uneducated. So yeah, drugs are dangerous, but need not be inherently so.

    Ironically the danger of both Marijuana and Coke is the same in the US – or at least parts that like to lock up potheads. At the end of the day it is law and order that makes drug so overtly dangerous, not really the substances and effects themselves.

    Irony never look so stoopid.

  23. Fo Sho its More Money! Its killing me but you know things are hard out there on an addict. If thats your drug of choice you’ll pay for it.

  24. So I’m seeing some regional fluctuation but on the whole no dangerous price imbalances, even across the pond. Our corrupt pirate officials seem to be doing a fair job of regulating!

    Value is created by making shortages(health care, anybody?). The US drug war has been a lifelong lesson in the hubris of authority and the inevitability of war.

    Here I’d hoped for law and order, but I get paramilitaries kicking in doors over private business. It’s unAmerican I says, and I don’t even do that stuff.

    Will we ever agree?

  25. When I lived in San Antonio, TX a few years ago, it was $100 for an 8-ball, whether it was good or shitty. Best and worst I’ve ever had, 100 bucks. It’s been over a year since I bought it in the Bay Area, where I now live, but it was slightly more, maybe $120-140. Coke in NYC has always seemed insanely pricey, but apparently they get theirs from Miami and in Texas and California it’s just brought across the border. I bet these if these dealers had switched to a cheaper form of stimulant, like crack or meth, they would still be in business.

  26. Imagine what would have happened if George Bush had realized that the way to win the “war on drugs” was to ruin the economy >intentionally<....

  27. Cocaine is too expensive to bother with in Australia. You’re looking at about $250($208USD) a gram if you know the right people. Most people are probably looking at more like $300($250USD), $350($292). I’ve also never had anything I would consider good quality.

    Why not just make cheap safe and effective marijuana legal, instead?

    Because Marijuana and cocaine are no more alike than Marijuana and booze? i.e. they both get you intoxicated but in a completely different fashion.

    Personally Marijuana and booze are the two drugs I can’t really live without, but hell if it’s 3am and I want to keep partying until sunrise neither of those substances will do me any good.

  28. #8, Anonymous:

    This makes me think we need a website devoted to reporting spot prices for various legal & illegal drugs. eg
    – NO2, Glastonbury, 27-6-09, £1-£2 per balloon

    About 10 years ago, there was a UK based website that did exactly this. I’m not sure what happened to it (or even if it’s still going?)- a search through old posts on uk.rec.drugs.cannabis or uk.politics.drugs might give the answer.

    #27, Anonymous:

    crack =/= cocaine

    The DEA disagree. But it really depends on what you mean by ‘cocaine’.

    1. posted on the top of the page.

      “This document is a general reference and not a comprehensive list. This list describes the basic or parent chemical and does not describe the salts, isomers and salts of isomers, esters, ethers and derivatives which may also be controlled substances. For a comprehensive list, click here.”

      how fuckin snow-blind were u when u pposted?

  29. This may not add much to the conversation, but I’d like to say that I really enjoyed seeing Mark own a dude.

  30. screw blow, i’m just trying to find some grass and having extreme difficulty. not really sure why either, i don’t think its’ the recession. maybe all the cokeheads downgraded…

  31. legalized cocaine would result in a brief uptick of medical casualties followed by a social adjustment that would finally see it as a very minor matter indeed. All the money to be made by the DEA Cartel etc. can only happen so long as the unsustainable is sustained.

  32. Sorry to bust your party, but it ain’t a gram that you are buying, it’s 6 points or 0.60g and usually going rate is 10 bucks a point, or $60 for a “gram”

    ‘member the old days where a gram way always a 100 bucks? ya, that’s 10 points or 1.0 gram.

  33. In Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal the price never changes, just the cut.

    Over the last 8 months to a year and 1/2 the cut has been spectacularly shitty. Apparently it’s being cut more, higher up the food chain. So as it passes hands, the cut gets worse. Still paying by weight, but your quality is going down.

    It’s a real freekin drag I tell ya. With all that crap it’s just no fun anymore.

  34. can find it for around $40 a g, got it recently (yesterday morning) for $90 a ball (limited time offer), standard quality. In all, prices are still relatively regular. (htown)

  35. picked up a ball of yellow fish scale straight off the boat early this year for $140 a ball (Harrisburg, PA). Just a half G over the night, and not just my face, but the whole front of my body was numb. Standing outside to smoke a cigarette in ~10F weather wasn’t shit, dude.

    I concur on a global trade ticker on licit and illicit prices. Often wondered what a book of acid goes for in London…

  36. so, if coke was legal it would be about one dollar a gram and tens of thousands of criminals would be out of work.

  37. Squalor is right, the Denver drug scene is frightening. The Latinos have the purest stuff & the price is affordable, as far as cocaine goes, $100 an 8-Ball for high-grade blow. The type that doesn’t leave you feeling jittery when you come down (and those of you who’ve done low-grade and high-grade know what I’m talking about). Ten years ago, I could get a kilo for a grand, not sure how much that would cost these days. The drug business has always been one of who you know that makes the difference in the price you pay. What you know is reflected in your success as a dealer.
    The problem in Denver with the recession is cokeheads are finding a cheaper and longer-lasting alternative: Crystal Meth. That drug is scarier than any coke cut with de-wormer. I’ll keep my teeth, thank you very much.

  38. I’m from DFW Tx and I buy coke for 50$ a gram from some mexican old guy but it’s the best quality, but the regular price here is around 40$/g but shitty quality. This economic crisis has affected pot more than blow though, especially hydro. Now I don’t even know who sells dro anymore since the one that got me the dro had to quit the business but before that, he stopped selling dro bcs everybody was broke and they wanted some cheap reg instead that was half the price…

    (Awesome discussion btw)


  39. ottawa ont, 80/g off street, 5 distributers cutting with meth/speed,yalla habibes, zabras r killing “faheds,malims, and manewks”, read between the lines!!shukron.. heart palpatations after third rail, not too clean here, most is channelled through montreal, just one more port that someone takes a cut and then replaces with cheaper, hopefully undetected, substance that takes the place of the lifted yayo, cellphone easily traceable if you wind up dead off garbage blow, so keep all yo dealers on speeddial. Gave up the slangin, only using. keeping the streets safe for the kids by doin as much of it as I can, can’t let it fall into the wrong hands. gotta be the vacuum, think like the vacuum, damn is this symbolic of jesus? he died for the world’s sins, I’m gonna die for Ottawa’s sins. There’s that god-damned heart again…. 1 second while i run 2 the bathroom and “powder my knows” knowledge of good and evil? I know of the good, and emmerse myself in the studies of the evil, h1n1 may kill a few, but there’s an epidemic of people taking their own lives through excessive consumption of toxins, Perhaps we know too much, we’ve been enlightened, the things the world was supposed to be, the broken promises, to hell in a handbasket. Go look in the mirror and look in your eyes and ask “is this what i want”? ask yourself, you may be surprised what the reflection communicates to you.

  40. ^^ No, I could only follow half of it too, but I thought the non-coke users out there might like to see what coke does to your linear communication skills.

    Cocaine: mutilator of coherence, connecter of unconnected thoughts, musher of paragraphs.

    On second thought, maybe its genius prose of the Ulysses stream-of-consciousness variety. Moar!

  41. I bought some blow yesterday outside Hotel Gansevoort from a guy advertising “party favors.” He asked for $60/gram, but I would only give him $40. Good thing, because it the worst/weakest/fake shit I’ve ever had.

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