Privatising the war on drugs

Christopher Hobson*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    A defining feature of the ‘9/11 wars’ has been the prominent role played by private military and security companies (pmsc). The growth of this market for military and security services has not gone unnoticed. Yet the role pmsc have played in supporting the US-led war on drugs has largely gone under the radar, both literally and figuratively. The aim of this article is to look at the activities of pmsc funded by the USA in Latin America, and to consider the specific consequences that arise from employing them in the field of counter-narcotics. It is argued that the use of pmsc further entrenches a costly and unsuccessful way of dealing with drugs. There is a need to move from a strict prohibitionist stance and consider alternatives to the war on drugs approach, but the use of pmsc creates another strong vested interest in maintaining an increasingly problematic and costly status quo.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1441-1456
    Number of pages16
    JournalThird World Quarterly
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2014


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