This chapter addresses drug trafficking in four sections: the nature and extent of the harm; the structure of drug trafficking (considered in terms of source, transit and market); regulation and control; and finally a discussion about drug trafficking as illicit business. Major drug types and supply routes are reviewed, to illustrate the scale of the problem regionally and globally. The usual routines of drug trafficking are discussed, including production, wholesale, kingpins and mules, and street-level dealing. The well-known challenges of interdiction are noted, amounting to the observed failure of the ‘war on drugs’. Finally, we look at empirical evidence that drug trafficking is considered by its protagonists in terms of business enterprise, and the ways this distances them from the harm it causes.
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