Rethinking the "Drug Dealer": Drug Seller Stories

When people hear the term “drug dealer,” it often conjures a certain stereotype: a Black or Latino “kingpin” pushing his drugs on innocent white people. While popular, this picture is not based on facts.

Further, we often talk about people who sell drugs and people who use drugs as two distinct groups. In fact, they often overlap. Many people who sell drugs are involved in drug selling to support their own drug use.

It’s time to rethink the “drug dealer.” We need to have honest conversations about people involved in drug selling and distribution, and the harsh criminal penalties they face for even very minor roles in sales.

Read more in our report.

Learn More about Drug Sellers

In these animated videos, you’ll learn about the racist origins of drug seller stereotypes, the myth of the drug kingpin, and who this broken system hurts the most.

Watch Their Stories

Why do people get involved in drug selling? Are all people convicted of drug selling actually selling drugs? What happens when they are criminalized? Watch their stories to understand how drug selling convictions have impacted their lives.

Additional Resources


DPA would like to thank the Vital Projects Fund for funding the production of these videos and related reports and research.

Criminal Justice Reform