• Article

Black powder drugs: An innovative response to drug control policy

As the intensity of the War on Drugs escalates, the social control of drug interdiction crosses international borders and employs more technologically advanced detection and apprehension tactics. In response to this intensification, drug traders develop advanced counter-surveillance strategies that diminish their chances of being detected and apprehended. This results in an interesting relationship between those who choose to indulge in drug-related behavior and agents who actively try to detect, identify, and apprehend drug traders. Drug traders appear to have recently gained the upper hand with the production of “Black Powder,” which represents the most innovative and effective anti-surveillance technique to date. Black powder is a simple industrial cloaking method that renders many surveillance strategies and chemical tests futile. Black powder is but one evolution in this exchange driven by tangible rewards, which results in intensified anti-drug strategies and an escalation of social control.


Krebs, C., Costelloe, MT., & Jenks, D. (2000). Black powder drugs: An innovative response to drug control policy. International Journal of Drug Policy, 11(5), 351-356. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0955-3959(00)00052-9