Carl's in his early thirties and has been dealing speed for nine months. It's his first time and only drug. He deals anytime - day or night, when he gets a call on his mobile. Like a lot of people, he walks around at night but keeps a low profile and doesn't draw attention to himself. What separates himself from other dealers is, he won't rip anyone off. He cares a lot at times but of course, it's often hidden under a tough-guy image. His heart's made of gold and oneday, he's going to achieve his secret goals and dreams. He doesn't make money from the deals - it's only enough to keep his declining habit going. By Christmas, he plans to have stopped, although it's going to be very hard. It takes a lot of work, help and determination. But for now, life goes on the way it is.
"I will not deal anyone anything I won't put up my own arm" Carl says. "I've never done a dirty deal. If it's not good enough for me, it's not good enough for anyone else".
The consequences are harsh if you're caught Possessing, Trafficking or Dealing. A heavy fine or a sentence of imprisonment is what many people pay. On and around the streets, you always worry. You could be walking around but won't have anything on you and you get pulled over. The police know you use speed and will always hound you but you've just got to take it. You're doing something wrong so you can't turn around and accuse them.
"Police are a threat to everyone" he says. "It doesn't matter what you do, they will always have an eye on you". He's never been caught on any type of drug charges but has had three close calls, with two being a random search. "I could have been locked up for a long time". Carl hasn't been searched for three to four weeks but he knows a person an average week who goes down for various sorts of drugs and just hopes he isn't next. In the last three weeks, he knew four people who have been caught. It makes him want to stop even more. The police know a lot about Carl but have never caught him for anything.
The biggest problem to a dealer, is not having a good or regular supply. You loose business and customers and they get angry because they're hanging. Some will wait because they know you'll have a reliable supply and won't rip people off. If you do, they won't come back.
When Carl was 16, he began using speed, which lead to other drugs. It started with smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol when he was 14. Using drugs was an easy way to get out of everything. Carl was usually by himself when he took drugs, as he was a loner. The strange thing is, he was an A-grade student and liked primary school but not highschool. His family was part of the situation and he didn't have a happy childhood.
In Year 11, he was kicked out for not showing up. "I should have been chucked out in Year 10 or the year before" he chuckles. There'd been a time when things were going well and his plans were to be a chef.
Ten years ago when he was 21-22, he gave up needles after he'd taken the risk and a chance to go to Narcotics Anonymous but picked it up again two years ago. The reasons that influenced him to take it up again, was the surroundings and the people who encouraged him to use drugs. Carl's problem is his lack of not being able to say no and always wanting to try something new.
Needles are exchanged at a van that comes around, which doesn't cost the user anything. It's good for the community. Carl sometimes finds himself picking up needles from the ground, so he puts them in the bin or in a bottle first. If you find a needle, the best thing to do, is to break the top and put it into the bin but you need to be very careful you don't get pricked. It makes Carl angry. The first thing he thinks is, "What if one of my kids got jabbed from a needle on the ground". Some people are so lazy and think it's all right to drop needles around. Someone has to pick it up or a child will!
Carl feels sorry for client addicts but goes through the same pain and anxiety. It's hard saying no to them when you know they’ll come through. When he's hanging (needing drugs), he feels really depressed, sore and his health is "fucked" from the drugs and other reasons. The ages he deals to is between 17 to their 50's with the youngest dealer being 13 years old. "It's bullshit! They're doing it for their parents because they can't charge a 13 year old".
You get offered sex but Carl never takes up the offer "because it's not in my belief. I tell them they can come and see me when they've got the money. They don't get credit either because it's too risky. You don't know if they're coming back".
At any given night in Northbridge, there could be anything between three and 20 dealers, according to Carl. It's always a competition and it affects your business but they (users) might get a dirty deal when they look for the wrong person. Carl adds "I've never had a client who has OD (overdosed) from my supply.
"My opinion here is, don't try it if it's something you've never tried before. It's not a craze. It's just a crazy thing to do".