1st Edition

Understanding Drug Dealing and Illicit Drug Markets National and International perspectives

Edited By Tammy C. Ayres, Craig Ancrum Copyright 2023
    486 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    486 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book examines the drug dealer in contemporary society from an interdisciplinary perspective and considers the increasingly blurred demarcation between illegitimate and legitimate drug markets. It explores the motives and drivers of those involved in drug supply and dispels common and stereotypical myths and misconceptions surrounding illegal drug markets and those who operate within them.

    The drug dealer has become one of our foremost contemporary ‘folk devils’. Those who trade in substances prohibited by law are the subject of array of inaccurate myths and urban legends. Criminology has tended either to shoehorn drug dealers into neat typologies or portray them as ‘victims’ of an uncaring, predatory post-modern society. In reality, we know relatively little about the complex and diverse world of drug markets and our concentration inevitably falls on low-end ‘retail’ dealers who operate in the most visible sectors of the illegal economy. Bringing together an international group of experts, this book considers perspectives from around the world, including UK, USA, South America, Spain, India and Australia.

    This book will be of interest to students and researchers across criminology, law, sociology, criminal justice and public health, and will be essential reading for those taking courses on drugs, drug markets and substance misuse.

    List of contributors


    1 The changing shape of illicit drug markets: differentiation and its consequences for understanding and researching illicit drug markets
    Ross Coomber

    PART 1: The usual suspects: traditional forms of drug dealing

    2 Drug dealing with amphetamines: from over the counter to subcultural thefts, three phases of supply
    Andrew Wilson and Rob Ralphs

    3 Life stories of Jamaican men involved in the UK drugs trade
    Angie Heal

    4 Entrepreneurs: just taking care of business, the drug business
    Tammy C. Ayres and James Treadwell

    5 Heroin users who deal: getting high on their own supply
    James Morgan and Daniel Silverstone

    6 Just ‘sorting’ their mates? The identities, roles and motivations of social suppliers
    Leah Moyle

    7 Women’s role in illegal drug production, selling and trafficking
    Jennifer Fleetwood

    8 Dealing dope in the dorms: college drug dealers and anti-targets in the U.S. war on drugs
    A. Rafik Mohamed and Erik D. Fritsvold

    9 ‘Steroid holidays’ as drug tourism and deviant leisure
    Jake Coomber-Moore, Nigel South, Ross Coomber and Leah Moyle

    10 ‘Easy money, zero risk’: the role of British seasonal workers in the Ibiza drug market
    Tim Turner

    11 ‘Doubling up’: drug dealing as a profitable side-hustle
    Mike Salinas

    12 County lines and the transformation of middle drug markets within a local organised crime context
    Paul Andell, David James and Dev Maitra

    13 Violence, grime, gangs and drugs on the south side of Birmingham
    James Treadwell and Craig Kelly

    14 The more things change, the more they stay the same: a structuro-generational perspective of gypsy drug-dealing networks and operations in Madrid, Spain
    Daniel Briggs

    PART 2: New drugs, new technologies and new perspectives

    15 The darknet, bitcoins and the role of the internet in drug supply
    Angus Bancroft

    16 Cryptomarkets and organised crime: an ethnographic life history
    Craig Kelly

    17 Image and performance-enhancing drug (IPED) suppliers and their motives: following the evidence Katinka van de Ven, Kyle J.D. Mulrooney and Honor Townshend

    18 Illicit pharmaceutical supply: moving beyond common assumptions about drugs and drug dealing
    Alexandra Hall and Georgios A. Antonopoulos

    19 Drug markets and drug dealing: time to move on
    Tammy C. Ayres and Stuart Taylor

    20 Side affects may vary: palliative capitalism, punitive capitalism and US consumer culture
    Travis Linnemann and Corina Medley




    Tammy C. Ayres is an Associate Professor of Criminology at the University of Leicester. She is an interdisciplinary scholar whose research focuses on drugs, prisons and terrorism.

    Craig Ancrum is a senior lecturer in Criminology at Teesside University. His research teaching is around drugs and drug markets, local crime and consumerism, violence and ethnographic methods.

    'With chapters written by field-leading experts, this collection sheds a great deal of light on the reality of drug dealing today. Rather than succumb to the usual stereotypes, contributors explore a diverse range of drug markets and the various strategies adopted by suppliers as they seek to profit from and remain afloat in the drugs business. On every page there is something new and worthwhile for students and intrigued social scientists to explore.'

    Professor Simon Winlow, Northumbria University

    'This excellent and much needed book engages with the complexities of ‘drug dealing’ giving space to the diverse ways of dealing drugs. The fascinating insights gained from exploration of the hidden worlds of those who deal drugs are eloquently captured in this edited collection. The impressive array of authors engage with the nuances and intersections involved in the dealing of drugs, while also challenging stereotypes and stigma surrounding the ultimate contemporary folk devil - ‘the drug dealer’.'

    Fiona Hutton, Associate Professor, Victoria University

    'Bringing together some of the most prominent voices in the field, Ayres and Ancrum compile a truly interdisciplinary and critical approach to the clandestine world of drug dealing. Addressing myths and realities about drug violence, markets, and policy, they weave in important structural and interpersonal realities that truly make this a holistic and cutting edge must-read!'

    Professor Victoria E. Collins, School of Justice Studies, Eastern Kentucky University

    'One of the most vilified and misunderstood characters, drug dealers get the treatment they really deserve in this new volume – a nuanced, unvarnished and critical analysis that reveals and informs the reader of the diverse motivations, mundane realities and real harms of drug markets and supply chains. While prohibition continues to fail, alongside two-dimensional political and journalistic treatments, this book takes an unblinking look at those responding to the desires or desperation of drug users. From international mafias to local ‘lads’ and friendly neighbourhood dealers, from the desperate hinterlands of cities to college dorms, gyms, suites and on to the opaque systems of crypto currencies and postal drops, this is a fresh and essential briefing on a perennially thorny set of issues. A truly global collection of detailed and close-up investigations, brings new insights, analytical depth and ideas to a subject that has for too long been crying out for insights anchored in thorough academic enquiry.'

    Rowland Atkinson, Chair in Inclusive Societies, University of Sheffield