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      Situating Vulnerability and Exploitation in Street-Level Drug Markets: Cuckooing, Commuting, and the “County Lines” Drug Supply Model

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      Journal of Drug Issues
      SAGE Publications

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          Abstract

          The emergence of “county lines” drug dealing, a supply model which sees drug dealers travel from urban hubs to provincial locations to retail heroin and crack cocaine, is now established in the United Kingdom. This market trend has been associated with novel and evolving distribution practices, yet arguably most problematic is its reliance on forms of exploitative labor undertaken by vulnerable populations. Drawing principally on interviews with local drug-involved adults, this article is the first to undertake in-depth analysis of their experience of risky street-level labor in “host” towns. Findings suggest that despite violence and intimidation, many saw county lines labor as preferable to other income generating activity, and contrary to popular enforcement narratives, they often became involved though constrained choice. As such, it is argued that the policy response might resemble one of building resilience through multiagency support, which better equips “structurally vulnerable” populations to exit exploitative relationships.

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          Most cited references47

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          Gender and Crime: Toward a Gendered Theory of Female Offending

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            The moral economies of homeless heroin addicts: confronting ethnography, HIV risk, and everyday violence in San Francisco shooting encampments.

            P Bourgois (1998)
            Ethnographic immersion among homeless heroin addicts in San Francisco documents far more risky practices than the public health literature routinely reports. The logics of street-based income-generating strategies and the moral economy of social networking among self-identified "dope fiends" results in almost daily shares of drug preparation paraphernalia. Public health researchers need to reconceptualize their psychological behaviorist paradigm of "individual health risk behavior" because the pragmatics of income-generating strategies and the social symbolic hierarchies of respect, identity, and mutual dependence shape risky behavior. The explanatory potentials and the applied interventions that participant-observation anthropological approaches could bring to epidemiological public health research have not been utilized effectively in the field of HIV prevention and substance use. The accuracy of quantitative public health databases and our understanding of the who/why/how/where of HIV infection could be improved by a cross-methodological dialogue with participant-observation fieldworkers and by a greater theoretical sophistication with respect to power, violence, and extreme social marginalization.
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              'It's Just Acting': Sex Workers' Strategies for Capitalizing on Sexuality

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Journal of Drug Issues
                Journal of Drug Issues
                SAGE Publications
                0022-0426
                1945-1369
                June 14 2019
                October 2019
                August 02 2019
                October 2019
                : 49
                : 4
                : 739-755
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, UK
                Article
                10.1177/0022042619861938
                94d4fe57-f067-469a-a20a-586477b44fcd
                © 2019

                http://journals.sagepub.com/page/policies/text-and-data-mining-license

                History

                Quantitative & Systems biology,Biophysics
                Quantitative & Systems biology, Biophysics

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