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February 21, 2010 6:36 PM   Subscribe

Heroin can now be delivered to your house like a pizza.

They also target white, middle class clientele, believing them to be a safer bet. They also focus on customer service and other business school principles to bring a better shopping experience to their addicted customers.
posted by reenum (81 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
I think all drugs have always been available for home delivery, if you're willing to pay a premium.
posted by cell divide at 6:37 PM on February 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wait, you're telling me I can get a pizza delivered like my heroin?
posted by planet at 6:38 PM on February 21, 2010 [15 favorites]


Wait, you're telling me I can get a pizza delivered like my heroin?

Intravenously. You haven't tried it?
posted by battlebison at 6:40 PM on February 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


The "lethal" in this business model is created mostly by the criminalization of heroin users.
posted by docgonzo at 6:41 PM on February 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


They encourage users to bring in new customers, rewarding them with free heroin if they do.

I'm sorry but that just seems like a recipe for getting busted real fast. On the other hand if they are really decentralized I guess the aggregate can sustain regular individual busts and continue to grow which is what they're counting on.
posted by Rhomboid at 6:43 PM on February 21, 2010


cell divide: The reason this is a game changer is because the user is no longer being charged a premium for home delivery, and that the drugs are much cheaper than in the past.

As the article states: "You could maintain a moderate heroin habit for about the same price as a six-pack of premium beer."
posted by reenum at 6:46 PM on February 21, 2010


Users need not venture into dangerous neighborhoods for their fix. Instead, they phone in their orders and drivers take the drug to them.

This doesn't sound like a great improvement to me.

Crew bosses sometimes call users after a delivery to check on the quality of service. They encourage users to bring in new customers, rewarding them with free heroin if they do.

On the other hand I could definitely get behind retail outfits that care about quality of service, not to mention hand out free heroin.
posted by DU at 6:50 PM on February 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I knew someone in LA 8 years ago who's dealer regularly did house calls.
posted by supermedusa at 6:56 PM on February 21, 2010


This is sure to create a turf war between the pizza joints & the soft-serve icecream vans.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:00 PM on February 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


As the article states: "You could maintain a moderate heroin habit for about the same price as a six-pack of premium beer."

Yeah, this sounds like a recipe for success. Isn't it a safe bet that this makes it a lot easier to charge someone with intent to distribute?
posted by jaffacakerhubarb at 7:03 PM on February 21, 2010


Huh. The article seems like it is trying to scare me. But I'm not exactly scared by guys trying to improve customer experience and customer satisfaction. Decriminalize drugs such that the quality of the product is now regulated and safe and, presto, you've just massively reduced death and injury from both overdose and violence. Not to mention the reduction in other sorts of criminal activity. And the increase in tax revenues.

So what scares me is not the pro-customer-service guys but the "we don't care if it causes blood in the streets, we'll never let you ingest a substance we consider morally suspect" guys.
posted by Justinian at 7:04 PM on February 21, 2010 [34 favorites]


They have no all-powerful leader and rarely use guns

Sounds like a massive improvement to me.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:05 PM on February 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


Dial a dope been around since pagers
posted by SatansCabanaboy at 7:06 PM on February 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


(whoops, i misread the model as the old order-a-"special"-pizza kind of delivery. carry on)
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:13 PM on February 21, 2010


Heroin can now be delivered to your house like a pizza.

Late, cold, and not the way I ordered?
posted by jonmc at 7:14 PM on February 21, 2010 [21 favorites]


I've read quite a few things that suggest that the prevalence of addicts stays pretty flat. These commerce angles just push the specifics around. It is very typical of lackluster mainstream drug reporting to dwell on the significance of some specific product. I don't believe these "black tar" entrepreneurs are creating a bunch of new opiate addicts.

It sounds to me like these guys, however much they actually exist as a singular phenomenon, are picking up pharmaceutical abusers who are finding pills getting overly expensive or hard to find. The idea of a dealer who actually stops of his own initiative sounds pretty bad, say, for someone who is trying to quit but can't afford to move, but then again I'm pretty sure shouting "if you come back here again I'll call the cops" through the mail slot once would reliably prevent this individual from showing up again. I'm having a hard time otherwise getting too riled up by the idea of a new breed of drug dealers whose primary distinction is that they don't set up dealing houses or shooting galleries and don't carry guns.
posted by nanojath at 7:16 PM on February 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm amazed this is considered new and newsworthy. Has this person never been to a city? I mean, the LA Times is still in Los Angeles, yeah?

And frankly, where I live, pizza delivery is at a serious premium...not even Dominos delivers.
posted by nevercalm at 7:17 PM on February 21, 2010


The big H has never been more convenient.

Here in Humboldt County, there's a local business that will legally deliver medical marijuana right to your door. Glad I've mostly given it up or I'd spend a fortune for convenience. Tip your delivery person!
posted by porn in the woods at 7:20 PM on February 21, 2010


I knew someone in LA 8 years ago who's dealer regularly did house calls.

I'm amazed this is considered new and newsworthy.

Another new decade debuts and that evil heroin is coming to get us again! Imagine how much worse the problem would be if we hadn't already flushed hundreds of billions down the toilet trying to stop this through the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's, 00's!
posted by telstar at 7:21 PM on February 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


I hope you have a really good reason for living somewhere pizza won't be delivered.
posted by oddman at 7:22 PM on February 21, 2010


Mexican heroin can be of shady origin. Summer 2006, there were over 175 deaths in Detroit and 55 in Chicago from heroin laced with fentanyl; it was traced to a lab near Mexico City.
posted by ofthestrait at 7:25 PM on February 21, 2010


I love how every time someone reports something like this (because someone got caught doing it), it's presented as "that's so WACKY! I can't believe they'd deliver drugs like pizza!" Look, buying drugs is not always like it's depicted in Lou Reed songs and William Burroughs books. Small time dealers delivering stuff to you is extremely common.
posted by DecemberBoy at 7:26 PM on February 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


It is true that many Oxycontin addicts are not used to copping H on the streets. Heroin is a lot cheaper than O, so this practice (although not new, according to upthread comments) could facilitate more opiate addicts to continue their habit.

The ramifications of the Habit are nothing to joke about, I think.
posted by kozad at 7:27 PM on February 21, 2010


there is also a collegiality among rival drivers: "They're not shooting each other in the street," says the article

I'd say that's a substantial improvement as well.
posted by toodleydoodley at 7:28 PM on February 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


And also, this is old news. I once had a drug dealer hand me a business card where it said he was a pizza delivery service.
posted by jonmc at 7:29 PM on February 21, 2010


Okay, I'll give you that the quality-assurance thing is a new twist, but I'm guessing that's probably overinflated to make it seem more wacky than it is just like everything else about the story. As in, maybe someone called to make sure the stuff got delivered a few times, but I doubt anyone called asking customers to answer a short survey about how their heroin dealing operation could better serve them.
posted by DecemberBoy at 7:31 PM on February 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Dial a dope been around since pagers

or since Glenn Beck got a radio show
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 7:32 PM on February 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


And also, this is old news. I once had a drug dealer hand me a business card where it said he was a pizza delivery service.

Wait. I'm painfully literal. Isn't it common for pizza delivery boys to sell stuff on the side?
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 7:38 PM on February 21, 2010


In Portland and elsewhere, competition among Xalisco dealers and the resulting lower prices changed the nature of the heroin trade. No longer were burglaries and holdups the measure of a city's heroin problem. Junkies could maintain their habits cheaply. A spike in overdoses was the mark of black-tar heroin's arrival.

"The classic picture of a heroin addict is someone who steals," said Gary Oxman, a Multnomah County Health Department doctor who conducted the study of overdoses. "That disappears when you have low-cost heroin. You could maintain a moderate heroin habit for about the same price as a six-pack of premium beer."


So, uh, low cost heroin means fewer burglaries, less holdups, effectively no problems from the local Heroin addicts?

This is bad...how?
posted by effugas at 7:44 PM on February 21, 2010 [15 favorites]


Home delivery is the standard method of heroin and crack delivery here -- no premium involved -- and has been for at least the last ten years or so. It does away with the public nuisance of open air drug markets and static locations, so every one is a winner.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:47 PM on February 21, 2010


I APPROVE OF THIS BUSINESS MODEL
posted by infinitywaltz at 7:55 PM on February 21, 2010


When I was in college, the pizza place down the street from me got busted for dealing heroin. The way it worked was quite simple. If you wanted heroin delivered, there was a specific 'pizza' you'd order. They got busted because an actual pizza customer called and unknowingly ordered the code-for-heroin pizza.
posted by grounded at 7:57 PM on February 21, 2010


So, uh, low cost heroin means fewer burglaries, less holdups, effectively no problems from the local Heroin addicts?

This is bad...how?


Angry parents will want to know where the lunch money went.
posted by Brian B. at 7:59 PM on February 21, 2010


First thing you learn is that you always gotta wait.
posted by timing at 8:01 PM on February 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Could someone start this service up near where I live, so my house doesn't get burgled by junkies... oh, right, too late...
posted by pompomtom at 8:05 PM on February 21, 2010


They got busted because an actual pizza customer called and unknowingly ordered the code-for-heroin pizza.

At least Patrick Dempsey didn't show up and try to have sex with you. I'm never ordering anchovies again.
posted by Justinian at 8:05 PM on February 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think that a tool like Grindr would be a great way for drug consumers to find drug vendors at places like concerts, clubs, and the like. I'll buy a iPhone when there's an app for that.
posted by peeedro at 8:23 PM on February 21, 2010


First thing you learn is that you always gotta wait.
posted by timing at 10:01 PM on February 21


Seriously, what kind of pathetic generation of musicians is this sort of thing going to lead to? "first thing you learn is that the dude drives to your house..."
posted by nanojath at 8:33 PM on February 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


They also target white, middle class clientele, believing them to be a safer bet the largest market

To my knowledge, good drug dealers have ALWAYS delivered. Really good drug dealers will stop at the store and pick up a pack of smokes and a bag of Doritos for you on their way over.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:41 PM on February 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think I'm supposed to be scared by these Mexicans driving around and delivering heroin without gunning each other down in the street?
posted by wierdo at 8:47 PM on February 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Am I the only one who read this as a covert advertisement for heroin?
posted by mannequito at 9:07 PM on February 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


Heroin can now be delivered to your house like a pizza.

How long until 'heroin delivery boy' becomes a trite character type in every third porno rented at Blockbuster?
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 9:30 PM on February 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


First thing you learn is that you always gotta wait.

It's not a done deal under the dealer tells you to stop texting him.
posted by ill3 at 9:32 PM on February 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Am I the only one who read this as a covert advertisement for heroin?

Welcome to the War on Drugs.
posted by telstar at 9:33 PM on February 21, 2010


Mexican heroin can be of shady origin.

Isn't all heroin of shady origin by necessity? It's kind of a given that you can't trace the supply chain back to the poppy farmer in Afghanistan. I don't think non-shady origin heroin would be a good long-term business model.
posted by ssg at 9:55 PM on February 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Man, this heroin sounds O.K. Too bad I hate the idea of shooting anything up and have no idea where I'd find a dealer van.

In fact, I've never really understood how junkie life, or even buy-it-on-the-street drug life, worked at all. I mean, is it just that you're not afraid of getting busted so you go up to dudes on the street? For all my drug buying, I've always had to know a guy who knew a guy, and the folks I've known who have done real drugs have quickly spiraled off into that, divorcing themselves from my social scene.
posted by klangklangston at 10:00 PM on February 21, 2010


If you wanted heroin delivered, there was a specific 'pizza' you'd order. They got busted because an actual pizza customer called and unknowingly ordered the code-for-heroin pizza.

This would have to have been the most awkward conversation ever.

THE SCENE: A FRONT PORCH

A WOMAN IN YOGA PANTS AND AN OLD TSHIRT: Hey, Pizza Mans!

PIZZA GUY: Hey lady. Here is your delivery!

Yoga Pants: Uh, this is not a pizza. This is a sack of what looks like brown sugar.

Pizza: Uhhh, let me just take that back...

Yoga Pants: Dude, is this seriously some sort of David Lynch's Candid Camera? Is this heroin?!

Pizza Guy: Uhhhh

Yoga Pants: You just stand here while I... get you some soda or something for your trouble.

Yoga Pants calls the cops. She earns the eternal enmity of very shady men in bulgy suits. Everything is bad.

FIN

Honestly, I would have waited at least a month or two before I called that one in. That is assuming I wasn't so dumb as to actually think it was brown sugar and gently mock the young man for making such a silly mistake. As long as he didn't ask me for the thousand dollars or however much it runs for heroin before I got out the 'Silly person! This is sugar, not pizza!'
posted by winna at 10:01 PM on February 21, 2010


"They're nationwide."

Nationwide is on your side.

Esse. Homie. Bro. Pinky.
posted by Splunge at 10:09 PM on February 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, from now on, when folks hear I'm Waiting for the Man, they'll imagine the guy lying around on his sofa waiting for the doorbell to ring?

Why, yes, I did do a cover of that song! How nice of you to mention it!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:19 PM on February 21, 2010


Mitch Hedburg: "This is probably outing myself but I love the UPS guy because he's a drug dealer and he don't even know it."
posted by Silentgoldfish at 10:24 PM on February 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


Come on people, heroin isn't as bad as people

make

it


floor has stuff on it


::nod::
posted by Splunge at 10:43 PM on February 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


This is so not news. Back in the 80's we used to get the drugs delivered to the door (in NYC) as a matter of course. And believe me it still goes on today.
Ever hear of Light Sleeper? (1992)
posted by From Bklyn at 11:30 PM on February 21, 2010


Klang: Man, this heroin sounds O.K. Too bad I hate the idea of shooting anything up and have no idea where I'd find a dealer van.

Uh, this is black tar heroin. You don't shoot that shit up, you smoke it.
posted by Justinian at 11:33 PM on February 21, 2010


I would like to clarify and expand my remarks. People do shoot up with black tar heroin, but that's really not a good idea and those folks are all junkied up at that point. Uh, by "not a good idea" I mean "an even worse idea than doing heroin in the first place".

Shooting up black tar heroin fucks up your circulatory system and is more likely to make your skin slough off as it gets eaten away by necrotizing bacteria.
posted by Justinian at 11:36 PM on February 21, 2010


I foresee Marlo putting the Noid into one of the vacants.
posted by blueberry at 11:44 PM on February 21, 2010


Didn't Pulp Fiction have a house-call making drug-dealer?
posted by unmake at 12:24 AM on February 22, 2010


A new edition of the LAT article:

Thanks to the efficiency of poppy growers and heroin producers in the Xalisco region of Mexico, a safer form of heroin has become available in the US, a form that does not need to be injected, but can be smoked for effect, a much safer route of administration.

The Xalisco cartel has also learned from the mistakes of its predecessors and has set up delivery networks to bring the drug directly to the user, thus eliminating the problem of open-air drug markets. Delivery is discreet and dealers strive to avoid the turf wars that so marred the heroin markets in the recent past.

All in all, Americans should be grateful for the ingenuity and industriousness of their southern neighbors with regards to their improvements in the heroin markets. Dealers of other illegal drugs should also take note.
posted by telstar at 2:16 AM on February 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Didn't Pulp Fiction have a house-call making drug-dealer?
Nope. House-call making assassins yes.
posted by qinn at 2:29 AM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pfft. They were doing this in Española, New Mexico, at least ten years ago.
posted by koeselitz at 2:47 AM on February 22, 2010


Happy Pizza in Cambodia.

'nuff said.
posted by the cydonian at 3:01 AM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Didn't Pulp Fiction have a house-call making drug-dealer?

No.
posted by ryanrs at 3:14 AM on February 22, 2010


Okay, I'll give you that the quality-assurance thing is a new twist

Hearkens back to the old joke from the early seventies:

How can you tell Vietnamese heroin from other heroin?

Vietnamese heroin is government inspected.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:45 AM on February 22, 2010


I don't know. Someone parking in front of your house with a van that has a giant styrofoam hypodermic needle on its roof would seem to be kind of a stigma.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:55 AM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


The "lethal" in this business model is created mostly by the criminalization of heroin users.

Yeah, because we all know nobody cuts corners with lethal consequences in legitimate businesses.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:39 AM on February 22, 2010


Yeah, because we all know nobody cuts corners with lethal consequences in legitimate businesses.

No, but we know that no one's going to die from pharmaceutical opiates because they didn't know the potency, or because they were cut with something poisonous. That's the reason people die from overdoses almost every time: not recklessness, but because they got something more powerful than they'd been getting and did their same amount. Here's a little secret for you: the world of the powerful is fueled by expensive liquor and pharmaceutical opiates. Rush Limbaugh is just the only one to get caught in such a high profile way. None of those people ever have to worry about overdosing, only street junkies do, and only because of prohibition.
posted by DecemberBoy at 7:17 AM on February 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Uh, this is black tar heroin. You don't shoot that shit up, you smoke it."

Sweet! So, you got the number to your van handy?
posted by klangklangston at 7:55 AM on February 22, 2010


None of those people ever have to worry about overdosing, only street junkies do, and only because of prohibition.

I guess folks haven't heard heard of Heath Ledger or Brittany Murphy? David Hasseloff is about to do it to himself as well. The "powerful" off themselves all the time with expensive liquor and pharmaceutical opiates. Unregulated dosage of street drugs only fuels the fire in addition to the impurities, which are, despite what William Burroughs told us in Junky, part of the equasion as well. Overdose is only a part of the death directly associated with heroin anyway. Additionally there are the deaths by infection and bloodbourne pathogens, murder, suicide, accident, etc.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:56 AM on February 22, 2010


Yeah, dope delivery service is old news, all you have to do is get to know your corner hustler good enough to get his cell number and they all will hop on the sub to meet you downtown for an extra $30 as long as you're buying a bundle or two off them to make it worth their while to travel. A friend of mine used to set his delivery drop off up at the Gallery mall in Philly because his dealer (13 year old Latin kid from the Badlands) liked to shop for sneakers while he was downtown and really the only time he ever came downtown was to drop off dope to white dudes so this way it sort of worked out for both of them.

Back in 2007 I did an article about a delivery service in Philly that bundled escort services with cocaine. When you buy off the escort girls you can put the 8 ball on your credit card.
posted by The Straightener at 8:04 AM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I guess folks haven't heard heard of Heath Ledger or Brittany Murphy? David Hasseloff is about to do it to himself as well.

Yeah, I'm not saying it's unknown for people to OD on pharmaceutical opiates, but you have to be REALLY reckless, whereas with shooting street dope one little mistake in dosage can kill you. "Overdose" on opiates comes in degrees - you almost never actually die. It's really, really hard to kill yourself on an opiate overdose from pills. When you "overdose" on pills, usually all that means is you throw up all night. With IV heroin, you can't puke it back out of your blood - you're fucked already unless you're very lucky or someone can get to you with Narcan quick enough.
posted by DecemberBoy at 8:25 AM on February 22, 2010


Also, did Heath Ledger even die of an opiate OD? As I recall, it was like Ambien or some crap you can't even get high off of.
posted by DecemberBoy at 8:27 AM on February 22, 2010


Also also, the dope Burroughs was talking about doing in Junky is not what we think of now as heroin. He doesn't run into that until he gets to Mexico (the heavily cut stuff he buys off the Mexican pusher, Lupita). The shit he was doing was almost pharmaceutical in comparison. At the beginning of the book, he even describes getting high off WWII-surplus pharmaceutical morphine.
posted by DecemberBoy at 8:32 AM on February 22, 2010


Actually, DecemberBoy, when Oxy hit big in Philly back around 2000 kids were dropping dead left and right (another article I wrote) precisely because they didn't know the potency of OxyContin and were neophyte users without developed tolerance to the drug. Pharmaceutical narcotic drug abusers in Philly tend to be neophytes or chippers who use occasionally and don't want to get involved in the street drug culture surrounding heroin in the Badlands that comes with a greater risk of arrest and assault. Once an Oxy is stripped of its identifying color coded and dosage imprinted time release coating and ground it's just white powder and a user may have no idea how much oxycodone is in the line their friend cut for them. If they are used to take a Perc here and there and their friend just cut out a whole OC80 and they're also drinking or taking benzos you can go ahead and call the coroner.

Also, of course you can shoot black tar, it melts in heated water. It's just more difficult to tell if you hit a vein because the blood in the barrel doesn't stand out as clearly in brown liquid as it would in a colorless solution.
posted by The Straightener at 8:36 AM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was in New York for work last week, and for some reason all the towels in the hotel I was at smelled faintly like pepperoni pizza. It was pretty weird.
posted by moss at 8:40 AM on February 22, 2010


"As long as he didn't ask me for the thousand dollars or however much it runs for heroin..."

Posted by Winna

in england it is £10 a bag. prolly get 2 for £15 from the right place or if you knew the dealer well. Home delivery of scag is prolly less common than for other drugs though.

not a heroin user but have known people involved in the scene a bit in the past.
posted by marienbad at 8:45 AM on February 22, 2010


DecemberBoy, the link I added addresses the "true overdose." According to the study the overdose deaths came in knowledgeable users rather than ones prone to rookie mistakes. Further, three quarters of them had no more of the drug in their system than if they had died of any other causes. In other words, they did not push too much due to incorrect dosage. The study concludes that actual overdose is more rare and incorrectly diagnossed when in fact diagnosis should be death due to ingestion of multiple drugs:

"Continuing use of this term to explain all heroin-related deaths is inadequate because it implies that an amount of heroin in excess of the person's tolerance for opioids is the underlying cause of death in all cases. The implication of this term is neither clinically useful, nor scientifically correct, for a substantial proportion of fatalities, as it ignores the contribution of other drugs to the mechanism of death."

With IV heroin, you can't puke it back out of your blood - you're fucked already unless you're very lucky or someone can get to you with Narcan quick enough.

Additionally, according to the study, death took place in most cases in the presence of other users and over a period of time, sometimes hours, during which home-made intervention methods were often tried before seeking medical assistance.

Heath Ledger died from a coctail of OxyContin, Xanax, Valium, sleeping pills, and booze.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:14 AM on February 22, 2010


What promo code do I have to use on foodler to get this service?
posted by atbash at 10:30 AM on February 22, 2010


Igby Goes Down has a humorous drug delivery scene.

"I know a girl from Baltimore."
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:19 PM on February 22, 2010


Uh, this is black tar heroin. You don't shoot that shit up, you smoke it.

That's not true, people mainline and skin pop black tar heroin. It's a pretty bad idea, certainly - but these are junkies we're talking about. Pretty much everything about their lifestyle is a bad idea. I saw a guy injecting black tar on Intervention just the other day, it was disgusting.
posted by nanojath at 3:06 PM on February 22, 2010


Man, the comment in which I clarified and expanded that junkies will, indeed, shoot up with black tar heroin even though it is Not A Good Idea was the very next comment after I asserted that you smoke black tar heroin but at least two people corrected me.

I guess Aahz's law is still going strong.
posted by Justinian at 11:27 PM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've lived a deeply sheltered life.
posted by dirigibleman at 1:23 AM on February 23, 2010


anti-eponysterical.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:38 AM on February 23, 2010


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