Global Habit: The Drug Problem in a Borderless World

Synopsis

The market for illicit drugs is expanding inexorably around the world. More kinds of drugs are becoming more available in more places than ever before. But the drug trade is not only growing, it is changing in character. It has ceased to be a marginal area of criminal activity and has now become a major global enterprise controlled by formidable interests that threaten much more than the health of drug users. Global retail sales of illicit drugs are estimated at between $180 billion and more than $300 billion annually, thus ranking as one of the world's biggest commercial activities. Moreover, the immense wealth that has been amassed from selling drugs has given the principal trafficking organizations enormous power to corrupt and intimidate public officials and government institutions. In this major book, Paul Stares presents a compelling portrait of the global drug market and the consequences of this international plague. He explains that there are good reasons to fear that the global market for drugs will continue to expand in the coming years: profits to the traffickers are huge; the revolutionary advances in communications, transportation, and information technology facilitate smuggling, as do the lowering of border controls and trade tariffs and the trends toward privatization and deregulation. Meanwhile, the expanded volume of global trade, travel, and financial transactions makes it harder for customs and police authorities to detect and stop illicit activities. Added to the growing incentives and opportunities to supply illicit drugs, the level of demand is increasing in many new areas of the world, particularly in formerly communist countries and many areas of the developingworld. What can done about this growing problem? One option is legalization, but Stares contends that its implementation would be problematic while its benefits remain unclear. Yet, continuing on the present course will not w

Additional information

Contributors:
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Washington, DC
Publication year:
  • 1996