Dealers in disguise: The virtualisation of retail level drugs markets
Lundi 29 octobre 2012
Judith Aldridge is originally from Toronto Canada, but has lived and worked in the UK since 1989. Recent projects include one on sales and purchasing decisions of the (recently criminalised) drug mephedrone, and another on drug dealing and other ways of doing business within gangs. She is currently looking at how new internet technologies are transforming drugs markets. Judith is co-author of Illegal Leisure Revisited (2011), the revised edition of the best-selling Illegal Leisure: The Normalisation of Adolescent Recreational Drug Use (Routledge 1998) and of Dancing on Drugs: Risk, Health and Hedonism in the British Club Scene (Free Association Books 2001).
Summary : The shift from open drugs markets (where dealers sell to unknown as well as known customers) to closed markets (where dealers sell only to known custo-mers) that has occurred especially in stimulant drugs markets in recent years was facilita-ted to a great extent by mobile phone technology. This has been fairly well documented in the literature. I argue that very recent and even more sophisticated 'smartphone' mobile and other technology are now facilitating the move back again to open – but virtual – drugs markets. This paper will outline the nature and chronology of these drugs markets developments connected to the concomitant technology available to allow it, including 'Twitter' and P2P geo-social media applications. The paper will also describe some rele-vant results from a study of mephedrone (aka "bath salts" in North America) markets in the UK prior to its prohibition.
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