In my chosen profession known as the carnival to everyone there is quite a few drug addicts. It’s just the way it is mainly because most carnies receive some amount of pay everyday no matter what they do.
If you work rides and food and other salaried positions you are given a draw everyday. If someone works games, known as agents, they generally get paid commission based on what they bring in. In any event you get money at the end of the night right after the carnival closes for the day.
That night you will see plenty of activity around the bunkhouses where all the help sleeps. Some just don’t tend to sleep at night until they have no money left which is usually more towards morning. On a big night the people who work the games general have more money as they usually get paid their entire commission nightly. The people that work salary jobs have a payday where they receive what they did not get in draws through the week. Either way when the addicts have a bunch of cash they will be up normally until daybreak. Quite a few people in our business compare these addicts to vampires.
Whenever the carnival is near a neighborhood that has a multitude of drug dealers it is real easy for the addicts to get their dose of what they like. Some even get fronts. For those that don’t know, a front is credit. A large majority of carnies who get fronts are the agents. The reason an agent can get a front is because he generally takes some of the money, as he receives it from the customers, as the day progresses. He will then take that money to the local dealer and ask for a little extra with the story that he still gets paid that night.
Obviously some towns have better fairs than others. Sometimes the dealers from that town makes a ton of money off of these carnies. Matter of fact they have made so much in the past that some of them actually followed the show to the next town. Some of these dealers have actually wound up joining the carnival because of that one time burst of income.
I have heard that people that do cocaine, a.k.a. crack, are often chasing the original feeling that they experienced from their first time. I have been told that after that original high, or feeling, they never actually experience it again quite the same way. Most of the dealers that sell crack generally make money, no matter how good the fair or festival is, because of the individuals that are still chasing that original feeling. The dealer that follows the fair to sell is also chasing, but he is chasing that original pile of cash.
Many people don’t realize every show that plays big fairs has a drug policy. As a matter of fact they even have random drug tests. Mainly for insurance purposes as it lowers their ride and midway insurance that they conduct some testing. They sometimes will use these tests when someone has done something recently, that makes them undesirable. Then they give that person a test, that they most likely will fail, as a method of firing the individual at hand. Most shows don’t worry so much if an agent is on hard drugs because he isn’t operating rides. They are generally very concerned when they get word of a ride personnel on some form of illegal substance.
Quite a few larger shows will carry a school for the kids that travels with the show. The show hires a teacher and the teacher travels with the show giving classes to school age children whom parents travel with the show. There are currently no types of rehabilitative programs traveling with the shows. The current rehab consists of prodding the participants in an effort to embarrass and alert them of their problem. This isn’t working as well as an education would I don’t believe. With a good program carnivals could possibly keep these narcotics from making their way into show peoples mouths, noses, and veins.
I personally know several people in my business that have been on hard drugs. These people found ways to quit. Some have went to treatment centers in the off season and others found it in themselves to quit. Every one of them will talk about when they quit and will include what positives quitting has brought. Most of the programs that help people quit hard drugs are ran by former abusers. Maybe that is what the large carnivals should do. Get the guys and gals that they know are rehabilitated to spend some time with the current users every week.