drug dealers pushing brand loyalty

Preston Peet ptpeet at nyc.rr.com
Thu Jun 8 20:11:17 EDT 2006

I'm gonna be extremely surprised to see this one get published.

(re: article below)

To the editors:
I find myself simply astonished that your editorial staff decided Ryan 
Haggerty's article (Drug dealers pushing 'brand loyalty', published June 8, 
2006) was actual "news." If this is an example of the knowledge, not to 
mention research and reporting among your reporters and staff concerning the 
trade of currently criminalized drugs, there is little hope of seeing 
genuine reporting on the illegal drug trade or the completely ineffective 
war waged using our taxes to the tunes of hundreds of billions of dollars. 
In my youth, I was buying bags of heroin exactly like these, stamped with 
the exact same sorts of stamps in Atlanta in the late 80s and early 90s, and 
again in NYC in the mid-90s, as was just about every other user of powdered 
heroin, particularly on the US East Coast, as any user or even addict could 
have told Mr. Haggerty had he actually spoken to any rather than acting as a 
police and prohibitionist stenographer. The very last paragraph shows how 
old the "dis"-information in this article is, in that this exact same 
concern (cartoon imagery luring youngsters to their drugged out doom) has 
been noted about blotter acid (LSD in case you aren't sure) since the 60s at 
least. There is so little actual news or even reporting included within this 
story that I am curious as to whether the Pittsburgh Post Gazette was given 
any ONDCP money for running this bit of prohibitionist PR.
Preston Peet

Drug dealers pushing 'brand loyalty'
Deadly marketing thrives on streets
Thursday, June 08, 2006
By Ryan Haggerty, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

In the illegal drug trade, as in many enterprises, marketing is key.
The words and images stamped on packets of heroin -- from the phrase "Get 
High or Die Trying" to pictures of cartoon character Scooby-Doo or the 
Playboy bunny -- serve the same purpose as a corporate logo or a familiar 
jingle in a TV commercial.
"It's a marketing ploy," said Capt. David Young, director of the state 
police Drug Law Enforcement Division. "It identifies the product and 
establishes product loyalty."
Stamp bags are the most common form of packaging used for individual doses 
of heroin. New users can get a high from one bag, but experienced users 
often need multiple bags to get their fix.
The glassine bags derive their name not only from the images and words 
stamped on them, but from their intended purpose: protecting postage stamps 
gathered by collectors.
The relatively low price for a stamp bag and the use of cartoon characters 
and other familiar images on the bags can make heroin alluring to young 
people, said Mike Manko, a spokesman for Allegheny County District Attorney 
Stephen A. Zappala Jr.

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