The Size Of The Illicit Global Drug Market
1 min

The Size Of The Illicit Global Drug Market

1 min
Legislation News

As the War on Drugs fails, and the illicit drug market thrives, global drug use continues to rise.

The War on Drugs (WOD) was supposed to clamp down on the illegal drugs market, and make the world a much safer place. Yet, despite the supposed ‘victories’ that pro-WOD politicians are quick to spout, the illicit global drug market, and the amount of people using illicit drugs, has steadily risen year on year. If anything, despite its efforts, the WOD has achieved the opposite of what was originally intended, and facilitates injustice and violence.

To give you an idea of just how rapidly illicit drug use is rising, the United Nation’s office on drugs and crime has predicted that global drug use will rise a further 25% by the year 2050. With most new users likely to be women, as cultural barriers are broken down and gender equality improves.


Whilst not surprising, it is worrying. The money involved goes to fueling violence, insurgency, corruption and oppression. And we are not talking a few pennies here, billions of dollars are changing hands, and making some very shady people very powerful. It is a prime example of why global drug policy needs to be revised, to help reduce the need for such an illegal market – because the WOD has proven it can’t be stamped out. There is an analogy that we quite like, that explains this very well. You have to think of the illicit drugs market as a partially inflated balloon. As you squeeze the air out of one side (stamping out drugs), it simply moves to the other side (drug production relocates). A great example of this is situation in Columbia and Peru. As the WOD rages in Columbia, drug cartels have upped shop and moved to Peru, where cocaine production is now rife. The thing is, actual production hasn’t been affected by this, and cocaine is still on the rise.


To give you an idea of just how big the illicit global drugs market is, consider this: the global illegal firearms market is worth an estimated $1 billion. The global cocaine market is estimated to be worth around $88 billion – and that’s just cocaine! It is insane!

The below infographic summarizes the current state of the global drug market very well. It is worth a look at - definitely food for thought. Politicians need to pull their heads out of the sand, stop worrying about their personal gain, and make a change for the better – and quickly.

How Big Is The Drug Trade?

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