Barry Schwartz

If you ever happen to find a newspaper on the ground, and open a page of an article about drugs, what would you like to read about? It is the question I asked my friends and relatives on social media. This question raised excitement among them as sometimes people know of the existence of drugs, but they do not feel informed about this topic. Is it a real need to give people a quick overview of what drugs are and how they end up in thousands of people’s hands in popular places, such as music festivals?

Drugs are widely known as substances used to raise people’s energy and bring happiness. The most common drugs traded in Europe are cocaine, heroin, MDMA and cannabis. Also, the ingenious way they arrive in the continent as the way they end up in the consumer’s hands is intriguing. It has also changed the economic performance of countries, even if it is unnoticed sometimes.  Also, in the last years, drug lords have invented innovative ways to transport drugs to Europe and commercialise them. Thus, this profitable business grows quickly as demand gets bigger.

From opioids to cocaine, drugs are commercialized around the world as other products for consumption. Like any other business, the recreative drugs market continuously innovates to gain power, but the profits are also more extensive than in some other economic activities. The dream of money, the marvellous goal of the business gathers a bunch of incentives for dealers to make an easier way to distribute and sell their products. However, have you ever asked yourself how they can end up in your hands? What is the process they take until they can be consumed? How are they produced and what are the costs for drugs to be accessible in the market?

Well, let’s start talking about the white gold of Latin America: cocaine. Why is it called white gold? Simple, this is the way many people make their living in the countryside and in cities. In places like Southern Colombia, the ‘coca’ cultivation and its production are carried out by peasants, who earn up to US$13 a day. Then the product is commercialised and transported to other countries where it can be sold at high prices. The creativity of businessmen is not something out of the ordinary. I mean, if you need your business to grow, you should invest in it. Bananas, pineapples, marmalades, fried fish, tires, and even animals or people are common methods of transportation to make the star product reach its destination.

‘The ends justify the means’, the use of this phrase is suitable for some situations of our lives, as it is for the drugs market. After arriving in Europe, the commercialisation gets more dynamic. Cocaine, and ‘party drugs’, a term which describes a variety of pills commercialised for affordable prices, are the most demanded by people in festivals and other recreational events. Young people, who get the frontline responsibility of the product lining, offer and sell them from less than 10 euros. As of that moment, the big money collected is distributed from the head to the bottom of the chain of command. Everyone gets their money and, the clients, without even knowing that gasoline and substances such as rat poison are used to produce their ‘pills’, also meet their needs until the next purchase.