Drug tourism is when a person or individual travels to a certain destination for the sole or primary purpose of using drugs that are otherwise not available in their home state or country. This comes in many different forms and draws many different people. The journey can be for personal or recreational use and can be either a short or long trip. Those that partake in this usually do so because the drug or drugs they are trying to obtain is either illegal or unavailable where they live.
Why Do People Engage in Drug Tourism?
People that engage in drug tourism know where the common or popular destinations are, so they tend to flock to those areas. Drug tourism has been around for centuries and started when spice traders would go to other countries to get spices unavailable in their hometowns. Today drug tourism is more popular than ever, with about 1.46 billion travelers in 2019. This number will only continue to rise in the US due to the legalization of marijuana in different states.
More Info on the Drug Tourism Industry
People that engage in drug tourism don’t always do so to obtain illegal drugs. Some drug tourists travel to other countries to find cheaper prescription drugs or medications that may no longer be available in their home country. Some of the other reasons people engage in such a thing include: to relax or unwind from a stressful life, to enjoy substances not available in their country, to fulfill a classic or necessary travel experience, and to take advantage of looser drug laws or at the very least strict enforcement of those laws in the host country. Some of the most popular destinations for drug tourism include:
- South America
- Southeast Asia (Thailand and Laos)
- The Netherlands
- Czech Republic
The most active participants in drug tourism are young travelers and problem drug users or those with a history of cocaine, amphetamines, or regular use of opioids. Afghanistan and Myanmar account for 95% of opiate production. Drug tourism is likely to happen if illegal drugs are available in a city. Unfortunately, drug tourism has become more, rather than less, common.
Dangers of Drug Tourism
As tempting as drug tourism can be, it has many dangers. Dangers from drug tourism can be linked to both the drugs themselves and outside factors. Some of the possible dangers can include:
- Possibility of being arrested, detained, and held in police custody.
- Needing medical attention without any help or care close by.
- Contributing to poverty, criminal activity, and social destabilization in the host country.
- Being under the influence or outside of the control of your own decisions in an unfamiliar and potentially unsafe setting.
- Being unfamiliar with the local drug market and not knowing what could be mixed with your buying drugs.
- Being at the mercy of the black market and potentially corrupt police, most countries still have very strict drug policies, even if they aren’t always enforced.
The risks of participating in drug tourism are too high for anyone, especially in foreign countries. The unfamiliarity of the area, dealer, drug potency, and any added substances can make for an extremely dicey trip. However, tourists can enjoy themselves without taking the risk of health or legal problems.
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