My Roommate, the Drug Dealer?: How to Tell, What to Do, and Staying Safe

in Roommates on by

It is hard enough to share a space with someone but when they are a drug dealer it is a completely different relationship. Knowing your tenant rights as well as the law, are recommended if you find yourself in this situation. It can not only affect your daily living but you may actually be in jeopardy of being an accomplice.


Street drugs are illegal, plain and simple. Cocaine, Heroine, Methamphetamine, and illegally obtained prescription drugs like Xanax and Vicadin which are a few of the long list of drugs against the law to possess or consume. Marijuana seems to be a fluctuating legal concern as the plant continues to be used medicinally, helping ease the effects and treatments of those afflicted with AIDS, cancer, chronic pain and more. If your roommate is dealing marijuana to legal dispensaries there may be a slight chance that he or she is within the law. This all depends on the state’s local medicinal marijuana laws that can usually be found on the pertaining states government website.

Your Lease

Look over a copy of your lease. There should be a provision regarding drug dealing out of the apartment. Usually, whoever has their name on the lease is responsible. That means that if your roommate gets arrested and he or she signed the lease alone you could lose the apartment. If you signed it together or if you signed it alone, there’s a chance that you may be able to stay as long as you were not named in any legal action involving drugs.

Your Landlord

If your landlord witnesses or is given information regarding your roommate’s activities then the landlord may have the right to impose the lease provision as well as report your roommate and possibly you to the authorities.

The Police

If the police get involved you could really have a problem. Sometimes your apartment can be sealed off as a crime scene and it could take weeks until the police collect all the evidence. Any evidence of you being involved with your roommate’s business can possibly put you in jail. This means simple things such as opening the door for potential buyers, accepting unknown packages for your roommate and tolerating drug use in the apartment. If you are reported as involved you will have a permanent record that can follow you around for life, including when you apply for a job.

The Best Approaches

Sometimes it is not that easy to get up and move. There may be financial constraints, safety concerns or personal involvement such as your roommate being a good friend or even family member. Some ways to approach this delicate matter is to:

  • Ask your roommate to stop and maybe get some help and/or a legal job.
  • Confront your roommate and lay down some ground rules such as no dealing out of the apartment, no calls to the home phone, no package deliveries to the apartment, no using drugs in the apartment and no information whatsoever given to you regarding his or her business.
  • Save as much money as you can to eventually move out.
  • Keep your valuables under lock and key.
  • If your roommate is a loved one or friend, you may want to join Narcotics Anonymous (NA) to understand how to deal with them.

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