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The Transnational Organisation of the Drugs Trade

  • Peter Enderwick
Chapter
Part of the International Library of Ethics, Law, and the New Medicine book series (LIME, volume 68)

Abstract

The international trade in illicit drugs, one of the largest industries in the world economy, is firmly under the control of transnational criminal organisations (TCOs). These groups have prospered under a long standing regime of drug prohibition. This chapter examines the global drugs trade with three main aims. First, it outlines the nature of the illicit drug industry, its size and methods of organisation. We find that there are marked similarities in the ways in which both legitimate and illegitimate international businesses are organised, in part because both have responded to continuing globalisation. Both types of businesses are fragmenting, partially externalising activities, and increasing locational flexibility. Second, we consider the impact of new technologies on the illicit drugs industry. It is apparent that TCOs are using such technologies to both improve the efficiency of their operations and to reduce the likelihood of their detection. This creates significant challenges for drug law enforcement agencies. Third, we consider the ethics of the global drugs industry. The key ethical challenge for an industry which generates huge social, economic and health costs is whether continuation of a 40 year war on drugs founded on prohibition, is more ethically acceptable than an evidence-based approach focusing on harm reduction. The drugs policy reform debate is a vibrant and sweeping one, currently attracting massive interest worldwide.

Keywords

Harm Reduction Money Laundering Drug Policy Criminal Group Organise Crime 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Auckland University of TechnologyAucklandNew Zealand

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