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Illegal Drugs

There is a worldwide market for illegal drugs and that market grows every day. It includes people of all races and nationalities including men, women, and children of all ages.

Illegal drugs are drugs that are bought and sold outside the confines of laws that are set up to protect people from the damaging effects that are associated with their use. Drugs that are sanctioned as illegal are either highly addictive, can cause mental and/or physical harm, or are known to cause death.

Laws are passed in an effort to keep certain drugs out of the hands of the general population. It becomes a criminal offense to buy, sell, or use them. If caught, penalties can be very high. This includes prison sentences, hefty fines, and in some countries, the death penalty.

The illegal drug trade is a multi-billion dollar industry that crosses borders of every country in the world. The United Nations Office of Drug Control (UNODC) defines drug trafficking as "a global illicit trade involving the cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of substances which are subject to drug prohibition laws."

The UNODC is continuously monitoring and researching global illicit drug markets in order to gain a more comprehensive understanding of their dynamics. Drug trafficking is a key part of this research.

There is so much money involved in the sale of illegal drugs that it makes it very difficult for the police and other law enforcement officials to get a handle on or to eradicate illegal drugs.

Organized crime has taken control of much of the illegal drug trade, not only with large scale production and distribution of illicit drugs, but also with actual street sales. The criminals have inundated all sections of society including large and small towns and cities, suburbs, and rural areas.

As seen in movies and televison shows, drug traffickers have literally built small armies of men and women who see selling drugs as a way to make more money than they would make working a regular job. On top of that, many of the people who work in the illegal drug trade have criminal backgrounds and cannot get a well paying regular job, so to them, selling drugs is just a way to make a living.

The problem with selling illegal drugs is that there is no law on your side and that means that the competition probably don't have a reason to play fair. It becomes a matter of having to protect yourself the best way you can. In essense, there is danger on all fronts. You have to evade the law, the competition, and in many cases, those who you think you can trust.

Many illegal drugs are sold and used for the purpose of getting high (recreational use) but some are used in other ways that can be harmful, not just to humans, but to plants, animals, and the environment as well.

The most commonly used illegal drugs are cocaine, heroin, crystal meth, and marijuana. Although laws in several states have passed laws to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes and for recreational use, it is still a federal offense to sale or possess it.

Along with organized crime comes gangs, guns, murder, prostitution, human trafficking, drug and alcohol addiction, and a host of other crimes along with drug related health problems.

The United States has partnered with governments around the world to combat the illegal drug trade but it is not an easy task because no matter how many traffickers, dealers, addicts, and other criminals who are arrested, there are many more standing in line to take their place.

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