An altered state? Emergent changes to illicit drug markets and distribution networks in Scotland

Densley, James, McLean, Robert, Deuchar, Ross and Harding, Simon (2018) An altered state? Emergent changes to illicit drug markets and distribution networks in Scotland. International Journal of Drug Policy, 58. pp. 113-120. ISSN 0955-3959

[thumbnail of Word document] Microsoft Word (Word document)
DRUGPO-S-18-00067-2 word version.docx - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (64kB)


Background: Many efforts have been undertaken to construct an overview of various aspects of illicit drug distribution in the United Kingdom. Yet given that national, regional, and local differences can be profound, this has proven difficult, to the extent that Scotland has been largely excluded from the conversation. In addition, the level of supply being examined, the drug type, and the actors involved only add to confusion and vast differences between some findings.

Method: The current study aims to provide a holistic account, as best as possible considering variations of illegal drug supply in illicit networks, by focusing in on a particular geographical context (Scotland) and addressing drug supply at all levels. It is informed by in-depth interviews with 42 offenders involved in drug distribution from retail to wholesale/middle market to importation levels.

Results: Findings indicate Scotland's importation and distribution is evolving owing to increasingly adaptive risk mitigation by importers and distributors, and market diversification of both product and demand.
While a hierarchical model still dominates the market, commuting or 'county lines' and increasing demand for drugs such as cannabis, but also anabolic steroids and psychoactive substances, means that home growing, online purchasing, and street-level dealership is common.

Conclusion: The findings have the capacity to further inform law enforcement and wider practitioners about the diverse and evolving nature of drug distribution in Scotland (with a particular focus on the west of the country), so that they may become more effective in improving the safety and wellbeing of people, places and communities.

Item Type: Article
Identifier: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2018.05.011
Keywords: Organized Crime; Drug Sales; Importation; Wholesale; County Lines; Glasgow
Subjects: Law and criminal justice > Criminal justice
Law and criminal justice > Criminal justice > Criminology
Law and criminal justice
Medicine and health > Pharmacology
Social sciences
Social sciences > Sociology of deviance
Depositing User: Simon Harding
Date Deposited: 25 Jul 2018 11:36
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2024 15:58


Downloads per month over past year

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item