Tight networks fuel drug trade

The illegal drug trade is flourishing in Greece, thanks to a «pyramid» system of dealers and middlemen that is perpetuated and protected by a network of friends and associates, a new study has shown. One of the most shocking findings of the study – a collaboration between drug addicts, support organization staff, policemen, lawyers and journalists – is that the average dealers are family men. Most of these dealers push about 1 to 2 kilos at a time to mediators who then sell smaller quantities to users. The study also found that the average middlemen are foreigners with low incomes. The most fertile ground for drug-dealing networks are industrial areas with ample storage and logistics facilities, it was revealed. As for the trade in drugs, busy urban areas are the most promising for would-be dealers. In Athens, central Omonia Square is like a «department store» for drugs, with different groups of pushers offering various narcotics at different times of day, the study said. Many Athens nightclubs also tolerate the illegal drug trade on their premises, the study found. According to Sofia Vidali, a criminology professor who led the study, drug dealing is not only flourishing in clubs but also in schools and offices in certain neighborhoods where dealers have a heightened presence. As for prevention, police efforts have not been particularly effective, according to the study, which noted that only 10 to 20 percent of drugs circulating on the market actually fall into police hands. According to Nikos Paraskevopoulos, a lecturer on criminal law at Thessaloniki’s Aristotle University, new legislation is not needed. It would be enough if existing legislation was enforced, he said.

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