No matter what kind of student you are, exams are a trash fire on your calendar. If you're one of the poor souls in a program like engineering or mathematics, you're probably going to be under a hell of a lot of stress when you're in school (albeit you're going to get paid a lot when you're done!). However, if you are in the social sciences or arts, you're probably a giant procrastinator and complain unnecessarily about your program, and will probably get a B- no matter how little you study (but you'll be paid virtually nothing for your work when you graduate).
Despite this shared sense of hatred/annoyance for tests that employers will never care about, we all handle our finals differently. For example, some students like to focus and knock their grades out of the park. It's the kind of mentality that takes either a special kind of student with impeccable work ethic, or somebody who caves and picks up a handful of Vyvanse every spring. On the other hand, some don't give a shit about wasting their tuition money and just want to have a good time after exams are done.
To get an idea of how Canadian students are surviving the study season, we reached out to drug dealers around the country about what kind of dope their pedaling to today's disenfranchised youth.
All currency is in USD.
Jones, 25, Toronto
Most Sought Product: Vyvanse/Concerta
VICE: How long have you been dealing to students?
Jones: About four years. I started in my last year at university—my dealer needed some help moving his product, so I kind of stepped up after being a customer for so long. After I graduated, I just decided to do it independently as some side income. But if I'm honest, it's pretty my main income now. [laughs]
What do you generally sell to students—around non-exam time?
Pot. Lots of pot. I usually do $920 USD a week off weed, and then I have either random or kind of special people who ask for the other stuff.
By other stuff, I imagine you mean hard drugs?
Coke, molly, but I try not touch too much of that because there are already established guys, and you're stepping on toes when you really start getting into that. You also make yourself more of a target for police. It's way worse to be caught with forty, fifty grams of blow than it is with some zips of tree.
So you mentioned to me that you sell a lot of amphetamines around exams?
Yep. Students want to focus, and I think that, quite honestly, most people don't realize they have anxiety disorders or illnesses like ADHD. They probably need the meds genuinely but don't want to actually seek help to get them, so it's less embarrassing and more socially justifiable to buy them as needed from a guy like me.
How much do you people generally buy?
Around four to five caps—people need them for back-to-back exams or to clear through final projects without the worry that that they're going to get sidetracked. That will run them about $55 USD, maybe a little less if I like them.
Lindsay, 24, Vancouver
Most Sought Product: Weed
VICE: Vancouver—the dank capital of Canada. Why do you think most kids just want pot from you?
Lindsay: It's the ultimate vanilla drug, and it does different things for everybody. Some people focus better; some people just need to destress. They're both kind of paradoxical in the sense that exams stress you out and you need do them, but drifting off relaxes you and takes that edge off. You need that edge to pass, though.
Do people buy a lot more pot around exams than usual?
I haven't noticed much of a difference in how much people buy, but I do know students who only buy drugs around exams. It's kind of like a reward, you know? Like, nice job for making it through the fuckhole that is school.
You're in school. How much pot do you smoke?
Not that much. I don't touch my own wares, and I don't like being out of it. I'm actually not that into drugs.
That's kind of weird. You sound like a good businessperson.
I'm in economics. Thanks.
Kiefer, 23, Calgary
Most Sought Product: Painkillers
VICE: Why painkillers?
Kiefer: They've always been popular around here. Taking an Oxy before class can actually make your day brilliant.
OK, fair. Do you think some students abuse them though? Opiates aren't something to fuck around with.
I've never been worried, not with the people who buy from me. It's not like I'm selling heroin or some shit, it's just pills that kids pop and get faded off. Have a little fun, man.
Not to argue with you but opiates are basically the same thing across the board. Do you ever use them?
All the time. The stuff I sell are actually my own prescriptions and stuff I have left over. Doctors give them out like Pez.
You told me earlier that these were for an injury, but you also said you don't actually need them anymore. Do you worry that you're abusing these for no real benefit?
Sometimes. I'm also very young and have a lot to learn. I haven't had any withdrawals or none of that. I use them at low enough doses where I just kind of get a little irritated when I'm not high. I will quit them one day, but they aren't having any real effect on me in a bad way right now.
You got any exams this year?
Three. They're all easy though. I don't stress.
Filipe, 20, Montreal
Most Sought Product: Cocaine
VICE: Blow for exams? Really?
Filipe: Not for exams! Montreal is a party city. This is for the celebrations.
Coke is pricy, especially on a student budget. How much do you sell to most people?
Usually half a gram to a gram. People always try to cut deals with their friends, coming in groups and such. I'm pretty good about it because I honestly can't complain—I sell about $1,150 USD a week and work my job full time. I have lots to go around.
Do you have any students who buy it before exams, during, and after? Like, regular clients?
Mmmhm. A lot of party girls and club bros—promoter types who do this stuff every night. I've been offered sex and stuff for drugs, but that shit freaks me out. I don't have trouble getting around, and I'm not really comfortable with using people's bodies for something like that. It's so fucking sleezy. I'm doing this for fun, for friendship, for a bit of money. I'm not Freeway Ricky!
How much coke do you do?
None. I'm straight edge!
Chauncey, 21, Edmonton
Most Sought Product: Weed, Amphetamines
VICE: Do you make more money off Vyvanse/Adderall/Concerta or pot?Chauncey: Depends. I push different products every few weeks, but I try to go harder on the amphs around exams because most people will buy them if I offer it with their weed. Like, 'Hey, here's that gram you asked for.' I'll throw in three pills for $30 USD. Most people buy them and then want more later, so I usually end up lucking out and making an extra $75, $115 USD off people who would have never, ever bought that kind of stuff.
How do you find new customers? You're doing this weed game full-time (authors note: Chauncey says he makes $1,500 USD per week off weed), you must have a system.
Doing this from school makes it so much easier. You start selling to people you trust in your faculty and that word spreads. You get texts from people saying they heard about you, and they want a little bit of this or that. Then you start hitting up parties, selling there. Soon, people are comfortable with you, know you're not shady. It's about coming off like a likable person. People don't want to buy from some hoodrat-looking dude.
Do you do any of your own drugs around exams?
I smoke a lot of pot. Keeps me level and straight and focused on what matters. It also keeps me from pushing my boundaries with all this. Being a student lets me get off without having an income. It's the perfect time to to do this, but I have to keep my grades up. I don't want to do this forever. I study a lot outside of when I'm selling and going to class.
Shawna, 28, Halifax
Most Sought Product: MDMA, Painkillers
VICE: If you were to describe the average student drug user in Halifax, what would it be?
Shawna: Weed is widespread. That's kind of the common denominator. I used to live in Toronto, and I'd say people get bored out here much easier. There's a lot of hard drug usage at parties. Most kids are doing [MDMA], or coke, or some form of pain pill.
When you were in school, what did you do?
Smoked lots of hash, did some coke on the weekends. I liked wine, so I was mainly a drinker. Now I'm a bit older, and it's all kind of novel.
Why do you think people are buying molly and painkillers around exams?
It's for partying. I don't think people in [the Maritimes] take themselves too seriously. It's all about rager parties and what's happening at night, what you're going to do when it's over. Anybody who's taking his or her school for real is not going to get distracted very easily out here.
Do students ever tell you why they buy drugs?
I've had some open up to me. Students are always going to be my main customer base, because it's mainly a thing about managing priorities and drugs help with that. If you can get some more sleep and do a little dope. Why not? If you can blow a semester's worth of stress off by banging out a few lines, why fucking not?
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