This special edition of Safer Communities, edited by UKDPC, considers the role of enforcement in reducing the harms caused by drugs.
UKDPC recently published a review of the research literature called Tackling Drug Markets and Distribution Networks in the UK by the Institute for Criminal Policy Research, King’s College London. It found, in short, that UK drug markets are well established and extremely resilient to enforcement efforts.
As a result, even the most significant drug seizures and dealer/trafficker convictions usually fail to have a sustainable impact on street-level supply and demand. The drug market simply adapts to changing circumstances. For instance, the void created by imprisoning traffickers and dealers is usually filled quickly (if indeed being behind bars prevents them from continuing their activity) and a local ‘crackdown’ may result in displacing a drug market to another neighbourhood.