Determining Dealer vs. User in Drug Investigations

Determining Dealer vs. User in Drug Investigations
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2022-05-05
Unit 1Presentation Materials: Determining Dealer vs. User in Drug Investigations
Unit 2Transcript: Determining Dealer vs. User in Drug Investigations
Unit 3Workbook: Determining Dealer vs. User in Drug Investigations
Unit 4Recording: Determining Dealer vs. User in Drug Investigations

Those working in law enforcement deal with all the facets of the drug trade. To be able to be fully effective in the role, law enforcement professionals must be adept in its nuances like distinguishing one substance from another, different paraphernalia that indicates the role of the individuals in the whole drug operations, and the appropriate charges to apply. In this webinar, Bill Loucks focuses on determining dealers versus users in a drug investigation.

Bill Loucks is an Instructor and Course Developer for the North Carolina Department of Justice’s Justice Academy and the North Carolina State School Director for the Prescription Drug Diversion Investigator and Supervisory Certification Courses. He is also a Sworn Deputy Reserve Officer with the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office.

Specifics of the discussion include:

  • The value of determining the difference between a dealer and a user for law enforcement.
  • How existing law enforcement trainings fail to provide guidance on this critical skill which results in challenges for officers when handling drug cases.
  • A rundown of the most common paraphernalia utilized for use of specific controlled substances.
  • Identifying a dealer versus a user for based on the volume of the substances vis-à-vis a single dosage, the specific paraphernalia and its condition or appearance, and other items that can be collected as evidence.
  • Why the presence of drug scales does not equate to a person being a dealer.
  • Important details to consider when including scales into the evidence to discern the subject’s drug involvement.
  • Questions to ask and other information to take into account for investigative purposes in terms of the location where evidence is recovered and the packaging.
  • The importance of thorough documentation to ensure that all your observations and expertise are articulated well in court which then determines the appropriate charge and prosecution.

Questions raised by the audience are about:

  • Training, skills, and interests to set one up for a career track as a narcotics investigator.
  • Single-dose amounts for some of the most common controlled substances.
  • Using lottery tickets as improvised packaging for heroin.
  • The assortment or specialization of products dealers tend to offer.
  • The specific drug that poses the biggest threat to society at present time.


Other Webinars with this Presenter:


Or click here to view and register for other upcoming Law Enforcement webinars on the JCH Platform.


Audience Comments

  • “Good overview of identifying things that dealers will more than likely have. Educational.” — Amanda
  • “Super informative. I can apply the info I learned to my job.” — Beverly
  • “Adding simple nuances in the report to solidify the possession with the intent to distribute charges was great. Prior to this training I never articulated smaller things such as residue on the scales, if they were operational, etc. at the time of the arrest. This training definingly shed some light on things I need to report as well as keep an eye out for. The trainer was knowledgeable and the class was very beneficial.” — Brandon
  • “The Speaker was very engaging.” — Courteney
  • Great presentation! Defense tactics were very helpful — Garrett
  • “I always love his webinars!!!!” — Jill
  • “Always an excellent speaker with great material. Very informative!” — Nathalie
  • “The use of photos along with the discussion and explanation. His experience in the field provided credibility.”  — RHONDA
  • “Being in drug enforcement in Canada, it was interesting to hear the similarities involving the drug trade from the United States as well. The presenter was very knowledgeable and interactive, all in all this webinar was great! Thank you.” — Christian
  • “Loved Bill’s expertise and great video and slide show photos. He’s such a subject matter expert. Very knowledgeable and interactive, I’ve learned a lot about different drug usages, court proceedings in regard to drug usage, and dealer vs. drugs thank you!!! 10 STARS!!!” — Nicole
  • “Learning about the paraphernalia used amongst users and how it differs from dealers was important and I found value in my line of work.” — Omar
  • “How to identify a dealer from a user and how cut-off baggies can identify a user from a dealer. GREAT TRAINING! Thank you.” — Pamela
  • “The main differences in packing, product, and amounts between users and sellers.” — Rachel



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