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    Markets and distribution systems: the birth, growth and transformation of UK drug markets

    May, Tiggey and Bhardwa, Bina (2015) Markets and distribution systems: the birth, growth and transformation of UK drug markets. In: Brownstein, H.H. (ed.) The Handbook of Drugs and Society. Wiley Handbooks in Criminology and Criminal Justice 6. Chichester, U.K.: Wiley Blackwell, pp. 416-442. ISBN 9781118726792.

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    Over the last thirty years UK drug markets have changed significantly. There has been a marked decline in the centrality of drugs derived from naturally cultivated plants. The European heroin market is weaker now than it has been for many years and the UK cannabis market has evolved from a resin-based market, sourced from cultivating countries, to a higher strength domestically grown cannabis market. The cocaine market, however, appears to be stable, although it is likely that a small, but significant, proportion of its customer base has altered their buying habits and are now buying from the rapidly expanding synthetic stimulant market. These changes are likely to be due to natural evolutionary changes in youth and consumer culture alongside one of many responses to the intermittent effectiveness of enforcement activity. Regardless of any change that has taken place to the transporting, buying, consuming and policing of illicit drug markets, they endure and remain firmly embedded in our society and continue to be one of the ‘wicked problems’ which policy makers have to grapple with. This chapter aims to offer a classification of the main retail drug markets currently operating in England and Wales, distinguishing between open and closed, crack/dealing house markets, and internet surface web/darknet markets. In providing these descriptions we will describe how each market operates and document the market transformations that have taken place. We will then discuss the relationship between enforcement, price and purity. In the first instance, however, we provide a short description of the five methodological approaches to drug market research, drawing substantially on the work of Alison Ritter (2006).


    Item Type: Book Section
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Law and the Humanities, Centre for, Crime & Justice Policy Research, Institute for
    Depositing User: Tiggey May
    Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2017 14:42
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:30


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