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Informal Control and Illicit Drug Trade

NCJ Number
Criminology Volume: 49 Issue: 3 Dated: August 2011 Pages: 729-766
Scott Jacques; Richard Wright
Date Published
August 2011
38 pages
This study examined the interconnectedness between legislation, and law enforcement to control drug markets.
Antidrug legislation and enforcement are meant to reduce the trade in illegal drugs by increasing their price. Yet the unintended consequence is an increase in informal controlincluding retaliation, negotiation, avoidance, and tolerationamong drug users and dealers. Little existing theory or research has explored the connections between informal control and drug trading. This article uses the rational choice and opportunity perspectives to explore the question: How and why does the frequency and seriousness of popular justiceas a whole or for each formaffect the price and rate of drug sales? The proposed theory is grounded on and illustrated with qualitative data obtained from drug dealers. This article concludes by discussing the scholarly and policy implications. (Published Abstract)