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It Came from the North: Estimating the Production of Synthetic Drugs in Quebec Canada

Award Information

Award #
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Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2010, $367,845)

This study will estimate the size of synthetic drug production (methamphetamine in particular) in Quebec, Canada, assess its export potential, and explore implications for counter-narcotics policies in the U.S. and elsewhere. Research on drug trafficking in the U.S. has mostly centered on Latin America, particularly Mexico, in recent years due to widely publicized violence. However, there have been well documented cases of drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) in Canada, such as the Hells Angels and Asian gangs, that produce and transport large quantities of cannabis and amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) into the U.S. Official reports from both countries and the United Nations suggest that Canada is becoming a major global supplier of synthetic drugs. But little empirical research has been conducted to verify these claims or to estimate the size of the drug trade. Estimating the production and trafficking of any illicit drugs is a daunting endeavor because conventional sampling or statistical procedures are inadequate. However, without reliable empirical knowledge, policy making becomes problematic. Innovative methods therefore must be used to acquire the information in a systematic, albeit incremental, manner. The study will apply the capture-recapture sampling and multiple data sources to gauge this "hidden market" and its impact on the U.S. drug market. The study takes advantage of existing data sources and field research opportunities already established, and uses data sources for multiple years that are necessary for repeated sampling of the target population. In addition, the study will interview 100 community informants through purposive sampling, and 20 law enforcement officials representing diverse agency backgrounds in Canada. ca/ncf

Date Created: September 15, 2010