Pictured: A small pile of pre-made ready-to-go signs.

We’ve all seen them, those individuals who spend their days asking strangers for money. Some stand outside the store, asking for change. Others hold a cardboard sign and sit or stand along an intersection or highway offramp. And a few roam from parking lot to parking lot, sharing their sad stories to anyone who will listen. I’m referring to Panhandlers, of course.

Yes, many of their stories are sad. Especially when children are involved, we’ve all seen this heartbreaking scene before—a mother, father, or couple; begging for money with their kids in tow. Hmmmmmm . . . but what if it wasn’t as heartbreaking as you may think?

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’re aware of my history with drugs. I’ve been sober for several years, but I spent several years interacting within the drug world. During that dark period of time, my eyes were opened to many things.

Anyone who spends enough time around drugs and drug sellers will come in contact with Panhandlers. Why? Because Panhandling is big money. Not just money, but drug money. I’m going to tell you the unfortunate truth. Nearly every single beggar out there on the street spends their cash on drugs. More specifically, heroin. Yes, most of it goes towards heroin. Some will be used for meth, alcohol, and cocaine, but nearly every cent will funnel straight to the heroin dealer. Even more specifically, one of the Mexican Cartels operating here in the US.

A few years back, when US Doctors began taking away their patients Narcotic Pain Medication, something else began to occur. Our streets were flooded with the most smokable form of heroin ever produced. Guess what else was going on? US Soldiers were being ordered to protect Poppy Fields in Afghanistan. Oh yes, Oxycontin was replaced with heroin. From drug dealers to drug dealers, the money never stops flowing. Heck, heroin is so much cheaper than pain pills anyway. Eventually, nearly all opiate addicts graduate to heroin. It can now be dropped onto a sheet of aluminum foil and smoked with a straw. It’s not uncommon to see a roll of tinfoil sticking out of a Panhandler’s backpack.

I’ve met Panhandler’s who are homeowners. One particular woman would roll her electric wheelchair two blocks each day and work a busy intersection. She called it “clocking in for work.” Considering how much she made on disability, the additional $300 to $500 from begging had this grandma living quite well. I knew the man who sold her drugs. No, it wasn’t me.

There’s a couple in Aurora, Colorado, who pick up their daughter each day from the grandma’s house. Apparently, having a baby in a stroller plays on people’s heartstrings quite nicely. It’s not uncommon for the pair of drug addicts to make $400 each day. Every cent is spent on heroin. The man who sells the couple their dope refers to the baby as [The Prop].

Most Panhandlers are genuinely homeless, but a few have lovely homes, cars, and serious bank accounts—some work for organizers, almost like a pimp. I met a guy who had ten beggars working for him. He would drop them at the best locations and even bring them lunch. At the end of the day, he’d take a percentage. He still collected most of their cash by supplying their drugs, of course.

Why does someone stand in the same place each day and ask for money? Because it works really f*****g well! Hey, if it makes you feel better about yourself by enabling some drug addict, then go ahead. Just remember that money is going to organized crime. You’re not helping anyone get off the street, eat, or anything else except simply get high.

Joseph Shanklin

October 9, 2021

13 thoughts on “Panhandlers & Addiction

  1. In some places like Russia it’s going directly back into organized crime, the gangs operate all the street begging like a racket, the beggars have to turn in the money each day, and it’s not uncommon for the infant “props” to die, as they are heavily sedated with opiates and tranquilizers, the thought being a fussy baby is likely to deter someone from approaching the beggar to hand them money. Almost like we can see a sprinkling of such unchecked corruption seeping into our American version of the behavior.

    Liked by 1 person

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