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Uncertainty and risk: A framework for understanding pricing in online drug markets. 

Munksgaard R, Tzanetakis M. 

Int J Drug Policy. 2021 Dec 10;101:103535. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2021.103535. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34902806.


Brasilien. How Brazil's Port of Santos Became Cocaine's World Trade Center

Three shipments of cocaine were caught on the same day as they were about to head to France, Spain and Ghana. All originated from the Brazilian port of Santos, from where cocaine shipments radiate around the world. (Insight Crime, USA, 13.01.2022)


USA. One Pill Can Kill - DEA Reveals Criminal Drug Networks Are Flooding the U.S. with Deadly Fentanyl

Criminal drug networks are mass-producing fake pills and falsely marketing them as legitimate prescription pills to deceive the American public. 

Counterfeit pills are easy to purchase, widely available, often contain fentanyl or methamphetamine, and can be deadly. 

Fake prescription pills are easily accessible and often sold on social media and e-commerce platforms, making them available to anyone with a smartphone, including minors. 

Many counterfeit pills are made to look like prescription opioids such as oxycodone (Oxycontin®, Percocet®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), and alprazolam (Xanax®); or stimulants like amphetamines (Adderall®). (DEA – Drug Enforcement Administration, USA, 23.12.2021)


Libanon. Libanesischer Zoll findet neun Millionen Captagon-Tabletten in Orangenkisten 

Keine Zitrusfrüchte, sondern Drogen: Im Hafen von Beirut hat der Zoll knapp neun Millionen Pillen des Aufputschmittels Captagon gefunden. Ziel der Lieferung war offenbar das Emirat Kuwait. (Spiegel online, 29.12.2021)


Consuming illicit opioids during a drug overdose epidemic: Illicit fentanyls, drug discernment, and the radical transformation of the illicit opioid market. 

Duhart Clarke SE, Kral AH, Zibbell JE. 

Int J Drug Policy. 2021 Oct 15;99:103467. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2021.103467. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34662847.


China/USA. Opioidkrise: China verurteilt US-Sanktionen

Peking – China hat die im Zusammenhang mit der Opioidkrise in den USA verhängten Sanktionen gegen Hersteller von Schmerzmitteln in der Volksrepublik verurteilt. China lehne die Strafmaßnahmen der USA „entschieden ab“, sagte Außenamtssprecher Wang Wenbin heute in Peking. (aerzteblatt.de, 16.12.2021)


USA/China. US sanctions Chinese drugmakers amid addiction epidemic

Biden administration targets four chemical companies and man said to be world’s leading producer of anabolic steroids. (The Guardian, UK, 15.12.2021)


Afghanistan. Meth and heroin fuel Afghanistan drugs boom

(…) Drugs are big business in Afghanistan, and under the Taliban, trade is booming. The country has long been linked with heroin, but in recent years, it has also emerged as a significant producer of crystal meth - another dangerously addictive drug. 

One source involved in the trade says that about 3,000kg of crystal meth are now manufactured every day by more than 500 makeshift "factories" in a single remote drug-producing district in the south-west of the country. 

The rise of meth has been fuelled by a discovery that ephedra - a common, wild herb known locally as "oman" - can be used to make one of the drug's key ingredients: ephedrine. (BBC, UK, 12.12.2021)


Afghanistan. Afghanistan: heroin and human trafficking are the only two sectors of the economy still thriving

(…) The trade in drugs and people are growing in importance as other sectors of the economy contract or shut down and poverty deepens.

Both illicit economies involve complex logistics, infrastructure and networks of brokerage to enable and funnel flows of people or illegal drugs out of the country. Both have responded with remarkable speed and agility to the political rupture marked by the Taliban takeover. (Conversation, UK, 13.12.2021)


Syrien. On Syria’s Ruins, a Drug Empire Flourishes

Powerful associates of Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, are making and selling captagon, an illegal amphetamine, creating a new narcostate on the Mediterranean. (New York Times, USA, 05.12.2021)


Illegal drug market responses to state recreational cannabis laws. 

Meinhofer, A., and Rubli, A. (2021) 

Addiction, 116: 3433– 3443. doi.org/10.1111/add.15517



Afghanistan. In Hard Times, Afghan Farmers Are Turning to Opium for Security

The war’s intense conclusion and a drought combined to wipe out the famous Afghan pomegranate harvest in Kandahar Province, during a devastating national economic crisis. (New York Times, USA, 21.11.2021)


Mexiko/USA. How smaller doses of more powerful drugs allowed Mexican cartels to overwhelm Mexican police and flood the US

A record-setting bust in October underscores how Mexico has become a hub for fentanyl.

The Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generational cartels have increased production of the drug, a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic.

A flood of fentanyl into the US has helped drive overdose deaths to new levels.

(Business Insider, USA, 22.11.2021)


Niederlande. The ‘cocaine collectors’ retrieving smuggled drugs in Rotterdam

As the volume of cocaine trafficked into the Netherlands through the port city of Rotterdam increases, so too does the number of young men employed by criminal gangs to retrieve the drugs from among freight arriving from Latin America. The BBC has had a rare glimpse into the dangerous work of these so-called "cocaine collectors" who provide a vital link in the European narcotics supply chain. (BBC, UK, 26.11.2021)


Kaschmir/Indien. Inside a Booming Black Market for Heroin in the Shadow of the Himalayas

We spoke to a dealer who dodges Indian soldiers and checkpoints to sell drugs in the world’s most militarised zone. (Vice, Indien, 19.11.2921)


UNODC/Afghanistan. Afghan opiates supply 8 out of 10 opiate users worldwide, UNODC finds, as experts meet in Vienna to combat illicit trafficking

The opium harvest in Afghanistan increased by eight per cent in 2021 compared to last year, to 6,800 tons, which could lead to markets around the globe being flooded with around 320 tons of pure heroin trafficked from the country, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said today. (UNODC, Wien, 16.11.2021)


Afghanistan. Opium production in southern Afghan regions is increasing — TV 

According to TOLOnews, amid the gravest economic crisis in the country opium poppy cultivation is the only opportunity to make a profit for the locals, including Kandahar and Helmand provinces. (TASS, Russland, 15.11.2021)


UK. What I've Learned After Decades Drinking with London's Criminals

An interview with Professor Dick Hobbs, who has spent more time with villains than most crown court judges. (VICE, UK, 10.11.2021)


Afghanistan. ‘It’s our lifeline’: the Taliban are back but Afghans say opium is here to stay

Despite talk of a Taliban ban, in Helmand’s poppy fields farmers and traders say they are not the only ones who depend on the drug to survive. (Guardian, UK, 11.11.2021)


Consuming illicit opioids during a drug overdose epidemic: Illicit fentanyls, drug discernment, and the radical transformation of the illicit opioid market. 

Duhart Clarke SE, Kral AH, Zibbell JE. 

Int J Drug Policy. 2021 Oct 15;99:103467. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2021.103467. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34662847.


Kolumbien. TikTok videos humanise Colombia's cocaine workers (Video)

Viral social media videos in Colombia reveal how the people on the lowest rung of the cocaine industry work and live. 

The images are far removed from the government’s portrayal of powerful criminal cartels in its war on drugs. (BBC, UK, 08.11.2021, Video, 03:07)


Special Issue on Environmental Impacts of Illicit Economies - Volume 3 - Issue 1 - 2021 - Synthetic Drug Production in Belgium – Environmental Harms as Collateral Damage? 

Comparative Analysis of Illicit Supply Network Structure and Operations: Cocaine, Wildlife, and Sand 

Forests, Coca, and Conflict: Grass Frontier Dynamics and Deforestation in the Amazon-Andes 

Addressing Socio-Environmental Challenges and Unintended Consequences of Peruvian Drug Policy: An Analysis in Two Former Cocalero Valleys 

Sanction Avoidance and the Illegal Wildlife Trade: A Case Study of an Urban Wild Meat Supply Chain 

Narcotrafficking and Land Control in Guatemala and Honduras 

Addressing Coca-Related Deforestation in Colombia: A Call for Aligning Drug and Environmental Policies for Sustainable Development 

Illicit Crop Cultivation in Colombia’s National Natural Parks: Dynamics, Drivers, and Policy Responses 

E-ISSN: 2516-7227, Published by London School of Economics - LSE Press


7,000km, 11 men, one boat - how cocaine reaches Europe 

Though the vessel was travelling a familiar route across the Atlantic from South America to Europe, its 11-man crew never intended to reach port with its two-and-a-half tonnes of precious cargo.

The shipments were instead set to be dispatched by zip-line to smaller boats, which would have travelled to meet the larger vessel on the open sea, away from prying eyes.

But the meticulously planned voyage was rumbled some 600 nautical miles off the coast of Portugal, when members of the Portuguese navy boarded the vessel. (RTE, Irland, 14.10.2021)


Ecuador. ‘Strategy of terror’: 116 dead as Ecuador prisons become battlegrounds for gangs

Struggle between cartels to control smuggling routes leads to third – and deadliest – prison riot this year. (The Guardian, UK, 30.09.2021)


Afghanistan. Getting high: Afghan opium prices soar after Taliban takeover

The price of opium has tripled in Afghanistan since the Taliban -- who partly funded its insurgency on the drug -- seized power and announced a possible ban. (EuroNews, 29.09.2021)


Indien. India: Adani Ports to shun cargo from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran

India: Adani Ports to shun cargo from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran

Decision follows seizure of three tonnes of heroin from two containers at Mundra port off India’s western coast in Gujarat state last month. (Al Jazeera, 12.10.2021)


Towards cross-Canada monitoring of the unregulated street drug supply. 

Biggar E, Papamihali K, Leclerc P, Hyshka E, Graham B, Taylor M, Payer D, Maloney-Hall B, Buxton JA. 

BMC Public Health. 2021 Sep 15;21(1):1678. doi: 10.1186/s12889-021-11757-x. PMID: 34525994; PMCID: PMC8441944.


Mexiko. Poppy Crash (Comic)

How the mountain towns of Mexico have been affected by the volatile opium economy.

by Andalusia Knoll Soloff, Marco Parra and Dante Aguilera

The Nib, USA, Posted on September 13, 2021


Police in Europe Pounce on Balkan Drug Cartel 

Law enforcement agencies from eight countries in Europe arrested 61 suspects and seized more than four tons of cocaine, as well as money and luxury vehicles during last week’s crackdown on a Balkan drug cartel suspected of running the continent’s largest cocaine trafficking network. (Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, 05.10.2021)