Women as actors in the drug economy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Women are increasingly involved in a range of drug supply activities, but their role is overlooked in scholarship and policy processes. Women are key actors in plant cultivation (opium poppy, coca and cannabis), trafficking and distribution, but roles in the illegal drug economy are highly gendered stratified. Women most usually occupy low levels in supply and distribution chains, with their access to markets mediated by men. Nevertheless, participation by women in drug supply enables them to support precarious household incomes and/or cover the costs of dependent or casual drug use. More women are coming into drug supply and use at a time when a number of countries are adopting more repressive and punitive drug policies. The impact of enforcement is a sharp increase in numbers of incarcerated women, with implications for care of families and children.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe impact of global drug policy on women
Subtitle of host publicationshifting the needle
EditorsJulia Buxton, Giavana Margo, Lona Burger
Place of PublicationBingley
PublisherEmerald Publishing Limited
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781839828829
ISBN (Print)9781839828850
Publication statusPublished - 2021