This paper explores the characteristics of local drugs markets through the examination of a single London borough case study. The picture that emerges in a borough not known for having a ‘drugs problem’ is of an entrenched, thriving and widespread drugs economy. Crucially, it is embedded within the local communities. Most worryingly, crack cocaine is being dealt in 15 out of 16 wards, with the front-line dealing predominantly carried out by youths as young as 15. Indeed, there are signs that the market has reached saturation point, while law enforcement merely scratches the surface. These findings reinforce the view that studies of organised crime must be sensitive to the local impacts of global markets, and that public policy debates about the responses to illegal drugs markets must be renewed and refreshed
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