Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This


Skid Row Dealers Apparently Getting Carpal Tunnel From Counting All Those Ones

Stories like these are only possible with your help!
You have the power to keep local news strong for the coming months. Your financial support today keeps our reporters ready to meet the needs of our city. Thank you for investing in your community.

Work as a Skid Row drug dealer certainly comes with its fair share of occupational hazards, from arrest to bodily harm. Now, it seems there is another to add to the list—carpal tunnel syndrome.In a recent interview, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck reported that the department has overheard wiretapped Skid Row drug dealers complaining about getting carpal tunnel syndrome from time spent counting those big stacks of one dollar bills.

"They would talk about how that's the nature of the business," Beck told KPCC.

About three percent of women and two percent of men will be diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome during their lifetime, and workers who use their hands and wrists repetitively on the job are particularly at risk, according to The New York Times.

In a recent raid on the home of one "Skid Row drug kingpin," law enforcement officers seized $1.8 million in cash—$600,000 of which was in one dollar bills. "The fact it was one dollar bills tells you a lot about his business on skid row," LAPD Capt. Andrew Neiman told the L.A. Times at the time of the arrest. According to Beck, it took the department more than three days to count all the cash seized in the April raid, which was the result of a months-long sting operation.

Support for LAist comes from

"I had never seen $600,000 in $1 bills and it just about fills the back of a pick-up truck," Beck told KPCC.

"I talk about it not because it’s not so unusual to see the small denominations, but because it is characteristic of the victimization of people that are the most vulnerable, which to me is what Skid Row is all about," he said later in the interview.

According to The New York Times, typists, musicians, meat packers and people who assemble airplanes are among those most likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome.