Studying suburban, middle-class drug dealers

A new book from two sociologists details the lives of suburban drug dealers in Georgia:

But drug users and sellers are busy in city suburbs, too. And many of the sellers are teenagers. That’s according to a newly published sociological study focusing on why middle-class, suburban youth get involved in the drug business.

The study was conducted in a wealthy metro Atlanta suburb.

Authors Scott Jacques and Richard Wright wrote the resulting book called “Code of the Suburb:  Inside the World of Young Middle-Class Drug Dealers.”…

Jacques interviewed some 30 young drug dealers for the book – many of them high school friends of his.

Even with plenty of evidence that drug use is a regular feature of suburban life (illustrated by the heroin outbreak in the Chicago suburbs in the last year or two), such deviance is often associated with cities and lower-class residents. This reminds me of the classic study “The Saints and the Roughnecks.” Two groups of delinquent boys in a town are treated differently by social class: despite similar rates of delinquency, the higher class boys were not arrested and it was expected that they would grow out of the behavior and contribute positively to society as adults. In contrast, the lower class boys were punished more harshly and took on the expectations the community had for them as delinquents.

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