Drug dealing and attitudes and norms about drug dealing among young adults and their peers in a high-risk community

Samuel R. Friedman, Peter L. Flom, Benny J. Kottiri, Alan Neaigus, Milagros Sandoval, Richard Curtis, Bruce D. Johnson, Don C. Des Jarlais

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: To assess the extent of drug dealing and of non-hostile views towards drug dealing among young adults and their peers in an impoverished minority community with considerable drug dealing and use. Methods: A population-representative sample of three hundred and sixty-three 18-24 year olds was interviewed in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, NY. Questions asked about drug dealing, attitudes to dealing, and friends' norms toward drug dealing. Results: 16% of men and 4.5% of women dealt drugs in the year prior to the interview. Among the other subjects, 30% of men and 13% of women view dealers in a non-hostile way; 22% of men and 8% of women report close friends have encouraged them to deal drugs; and 30% of men and 50% of women report that all of their close friends would object if they were to deal drugs. Among young women, potentially-traumatic events while growing up, such as sexual or physical abuse and undergoing racial discrimination are associated with less hostile attitudes and friends' norms towards dealing; as is, for men, undergoing racial discrimination while growing up. Conclusions: In spite of policies based on imprisoning and stigmatising drug dealers and drug users, both drug dealing and non-hostile views towards it remain fairly prevalent among young adults in this community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-268
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Drug Policy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2003



  • Drug dealing
  • Drug policy
  • Drug use
  • Norms
  • Young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy

Cite this