The Freakonomics of Drug Dealing [Infographic]



Hollywood has made the drug dealer persona out to be an inflated celebrity-esque lifestyle: drugs, money, women and power. They live the life of luxury with exaggerated styles and social norms. Generally, it ends with a crash and burn in a predictable coup or bust.

As we know, the realities and risks drug dealers face are much less attractive than Hollywood renditions. On average, drug dealers make only $3.50 an hour or $3,640 per year on average. Plus, your ‘boss’ might need to get rid of you if things go south.

You always hear on TV news about million-dollar drug busts. Drug dealers are portrayed in the media as wealthy with loads of money to burn. So why are their wages so low? Well, most of the money spent on operating a drug business goes to cost, including miscellaneous expenses such as buying weapons or paying out to higher levels of the organization.

The Legal Risks of Dealing Drugs

This is not a profession known for its job security, and these days drug dealing may be riskier than ever. There has been a crackdown on drug offenses. In 2010 arrests for drug possession or use were an astonishing 80 percent higher than they were two decades earlier.

But being a drug dealer carries a much stiffer penalty than merely possessing drugs. A first offense can land a ten-year jail sentence or ten times the amount given to someone caught in possession of drugs for the first time. A third offense can land a drug dealer in jail for his or her entire lifetime.

An average 276,000 drug dealers get in trouble with the law each year. A good lawyer might be able to keep a dealer out of jail, but most drug dealers cannot afford their services. A dealer would have to work for 40 months just to afford a week of fees for the average attorney, let alone a top-notch defense lawyer.

A Dead-End Job, Sometimes Literally

It’s not just the law you have to worry about when dealing drugs, however. Aside from the fact that there are certainly no benefits or job security when dealing drugs, you also have to worry about actually staying alive. You have a 7 percent greater chance of being killed as a drug dealer than you do of being executed when you are on death row. Think about that for a minute.

Besides the fact that you might actually die while doing your job, drug dealing does not pay off in the long run in other ways too. In most jobs, you can work hard in the hope that someday your work will be acknowledged with a raise or a promotion. As a drug dealer, those possibilities are almost nonexistent. There are some 3,000 street-level sales positions in the average drug operation and just 16 gang leaders, aka bosses.

How likely do you think it is a drug dealer will get a promotion? Try 0.005 percent. You have a better chance of winning $1 million in the lottery.

The above infographic displays the economics — or rather, ‘freakonomics’ — of dealing drugs and rising risks:

If you enjoyed this infographic and you want to raise awareness about the realities of drug dealing, share this with your friends!


Infographic by: Clarity Way Rehab

Leave a Reply