This summary sets out the main findings from a review of the recent literature on strategies to tackle illicit drug markets and distribution networks in the UK.
Though the situation has improved in recent years, the relationship between the supply of illicit drugs, the demand for them and enforcement activities still remains poorly conceptualised, under-researched and little understood in the UK. While the illicit drugs trade is both global in scope and vast in scale, effective strategies for tackling local drug markets have to be built on a rounded understanding of the relationships between the markets and the communities in which they exist – including constraints on individual and community action.
The evidence assembled as part of this review leads us to the following conclusions:
- drug markets are very intractable;
- they demand a range of responses – none of which will individually have dramatic effects; but
- a mix of supply and demand reduction measures may have some impact, or at least ameliorate the harms associated with visible drug markets.