Despite recent success in some parts of the world in controlling the supply, diversion and trafficking of illegal drugs, the scope of the narcotics problem today transcends law enforcement and public health questions, posing a threat to the security and integrity of nations and regions. The narcotics trade undermines governments and officials through corruption, intimidation, and economic destabilization. The erratic ebb and flow and sheer volume of drug money have a destabilizing effect on the supply of money and exchange markets. Moreover, the threat posed to individuals the world over by drug-related acts of terrorism is very real.
In the past, traffickers often viewed law enforcement successes in interrupting their operations as part of the "cost of doing business", reacting relatively meekly to avoid provoking governments into further and stronger action. Now, with stricter drug control and law enforcement measures around the world, some trafficking channels have been disrupted and their proprietary organizations are on the defensive in many areas. In addition to devising new trafficking routes through less well-guarded areas, they are now reacting not only with threats but also with acts of violence. They also have the support of local populations in drug-producing areas, having put growers at their mercy through both economic dependence and intimidation.