The Environmental Impacts of Illicit Drug Production

20th May 2024
Author: Kathryn Cheeseman

This K4DD Rapid Evidence Review compiles findings on the environmental impacts of illicit drug production, focusing on water and soil pollution, ecosystem health, land use change, and waste management.

It highlights the complexity of the issue, with significant gaps in understanding the long-term effects on ecosystems. The review also examines how prohibitionary drug policies may exacerbate environmental harm.

Key findings include distinct regional patterns of drug use, complex relationships between land use change and drug production, and the persistence of biologically active compounds in water systems. Limited data and lack of cross-agency collaboration present challenges in addressing these issues effectively.

Suggested Citation

Cheeseman, K. (2024). The environmental impacts of illicit drug production. K4DD Rapid Evidence Review 35. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies. DOI 10.19088/K4DD.2024.017


20th May 2024


Continent: Global