SWIM found this article while seaching around The Telegraph website. Can be looked at from a good or bad point of view but SWIM is deifitiely only interested in good quality cheap drugs, not the crime that has come along with it all.
UK narcotics market one of world's richest
By John Steele, Crime Correspondent
Britain is one of the world's most profitable narcotics markets for gangsters, despite nine years of the Government's "war on drugs", according to the new Serious Organised Crime Agency.
In its first annual "threat assessment", Soca says there are plentiful and increasingly cheaper supplies of hard drugs, distributed by frequently violent gangs to towns and cities, where they generate addiction, crime and health problems.
The flow of drugs is only temporarily disrupted by law enforcement action.
Soca started as an operational force this year and is responsible for assessing the threat from serious organised crime. Its report, published today, will not make easy reading for ministers.
"The overall picture [on drugs] is one of ready availability throughout the UK at prices that, to the consumer, have fallen steadily in real terms. Despite many tons of Class A drugs being prevented from reaching the UK, arrests and seizures have achieved short-term disruptions rather than a sustained reduction in the size of the UK drugs market.
"The UK is one of the most lucrative markets in the world for traffickers in Class A drugs [heroin, cocaine powder, crack cocaine, ecstasy] and is targeted by a wide range of criminals."
A number of cities in the UK are significant centres for drugs distribution, but Soca notes that "other smaller cities and towns are becoming more prominent".
Soca warns of the risk that use of methylamphetamine will increase - "including its purer form, crystal meth, which is comparable to crack cocaine for its addictive nature and harmful effects".
With drugs come guns, Soca adds. "The apparent rise in the criminal possession and use of firearms in the UK seems to be driven predominantly by the trade in Class A drugs (especially crack cocaine) and the associated gang culture at street level. . .
"Increased possession of firearms by lower level criminals, and their apparent readiness to use them, has led to an increase in random or uncontrolled shootings, and to 'tit-for-tat' revenge shootings. UK criminals at all levels favour handguns."
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