drug trafficking | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Introduction

Drug trafficking is the illegal business of producing, selling, and moving drugs from where they are made or grown to places where they’re wanted.

Imagine a network that connects different countries around the world. But instead of sharing helpful information, this network trades illegal drugs. This is the world of drug trafficking.

A Global Problem

This is not a problem in just one or two countries. It’s a global issue. Drugs move from places where they are grown or made to places where people want to buy them. For example, cocaine might be produced in a South American country but end up being sold in a city in North America or Europe.

Organized crime groups often control this drug trade. They use violence and corruption to protect their business and keep the drugs flowing.

The Domino Effect of Drug Trafficking

This doesn’t just affect the people who use drugs. It can cause problems for entire communities and even countries.

One big issue is that drug trafficking often goes hand in hand with other crimes. This includes money laundering, which is when criminals hide the money they made illegally. It also includes violence as these groups fight over control of the drug trade.

This can also lead to more drug addiction. When drugs are easily available, more people might start using them.

Plus, drug trafficking can harm the economy and social stability. When crime and addiction rates rise, it can make communities less safe and hurt local businesses.

The Law and Drug Trafficking

Around the world, law enforcement agencies are working hard to stop drug trafficking. They aim to catch the people involved in this illegal trade and bring them to justice.

Drug trafficking is a serious crime, and people who are caught can face heavy penalties. This usually means spending a long time in prison and paying large fines.

In many countries, the punishment is even harsher for people involved in large-scale drug trafficking. This means if someone is moving a lot of drugs or trading them across borders, they could face even more time in prison.


Drug trafficking is a complex, worldwide problem that affects more than just the people who use drugs. It’s a web of crime that spreads violence, addiction, and instability. The fight against this is a fight for safer, healthier communities around the globe.

[ Glossary ]

Last Modified: 05/18/2023

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