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NCJ Number: 202315 Find in a Library
Title: Do Middle Markets for Drugs Constitute an Attractive Target for Enforcement?
Author(s): Peter Reuter
Date Published: April 4, 2003
Page Count: 5
Sponsoring Agency: Rand Corporation
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
Sale Source: Rand Corporation
1776 Main Street
P.O. Box 2138
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Document (Online)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: After reviewing the structure of drug distribution and drug prices, this paper focuses on how drug middle-markets operate and the potential for law enforcement's effective targeting of this aspect of drug operations.
Abstract: Drug abuse is characterized by an "hourglass" configuration. The cocaine market, for example, involves approximately 100,000 peasant farmers in the growing of coca and opium; only a few thousand persons involved in a few hundred organizations are involved in the smuggling of cocaine, and then the "hourglass" expands at the bottom with hundreds of thousands of retailers selling drugs to millions of users. Specialized organizations or dealers occupy middle markets. The organizations are usually small. Sometimes a mid-level dealer has a very narrow niche in the market, perhaps buying 1 kilogram lots from one seller and selling to two to five others who are willing to buy 100-250 grams. In other cases, the organizations may span two levels of the market, buying kilo units and selling them to low level wholesalers. Mid-level dealers make large amounts of money in apparently low-risk environments. Drug enforcement has a multitude of goals, including raising drug prices, creating interruptions in the availability of the drugs to users, reducing violence, reducing corruption, and punishing those who make large sums of money by breaking drug laws. There are five levels of the market for enforcement targeting: smugglers, high-level distributors, mid-level distributors, retailers, and users. This paper's analysis of the drug market suggests that the targeting of mid-level dealers may increase drug prices, thus reducing drug accessibility. The outcome of this enforcement priority will depend on how well the dealers/organizations can adapt to increased enforcement pressures. There are no empirical analyses of how well a middle-market enforcement strategy actually works when compared with other enforcement priorities; however, there is sufficient basis in theory to suggest that the implementation and evaluation of such a strategy is warranted.
Main Term(s): Drug law enforcement
Index Term(s): Drug Policy; Drug smuggling; Organization development; Organization studies; Organizational theories; Organized crime
Note: Downloaded September 25, 2003.
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