How has drug production changed?

Historically, most illicit drugs, like cocaine and heroin, have been plant-based, which means they are derived from crops that need to be farmed, processed, and then shipped across the globe. In recent years, the illicit drug market has moved to fully synthetic drugs, such as fentanyl, which can be cooked from scratch in a chemical kitchen.

With no need for farming and far fewer legs of international narcotics trafficking involved, supply costs have dropped, and profits are higher than ever for those selling illicit drugs.

To learn more about the economics of fentanyl, check out the Ad Council’s Economics Lesson, which is taught by a former drug dealer.


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