The world’s drug market is huge at present and the illegal market is seeing huge hubs all over the world’s major cities as the likes of the opioid crisis and cocaine market grows exponentially.

More and more people are seeking help in drug rehab at present, while the volume of overdoses and deaths as a result of drug abuse is astronomical. At the same time, more and more raids and seizures are hitting the headlines in what seems a never-ending and unlikely quest to take drugs off the street.

But where exactly are they coming from? We take a look at where some of the world’s most commonly found drugs are being exported from…


Commonly known as marijuana or weed, cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug around the world. It’s now legal in many countries but much of the consumption and selling of the substance is still done on the black market. 

You’ll find it is primarily grown in regions that have a more favourable climate as well as relatively lax law enforcement, with countries such as Afghanistan, Morocco, Mexico and Colombia being among the main growers of it.

However, in nations where cannabis laws are less stringent, indoor cultivation has become particularly popular too, using a range of high-tech equipment to get the same growing conditions as in those countries mentioned.


Cocaine is a product of the coca plant which is mainly found in South America. Colombia is the main producer of the substance and has a long history of cultivation of it that dates back centuries. Of course, the rise of Pablo Escobar is associated with Colombia’s drug market, while Peru and Bolivia are also large producers of the substance.

The plant itself was originally used for medicinal and ritual purposes but today is much more expansive and continues to play a huge part in the illegal drug market.


Primarily produced in regions of Southeast Asia and the Golden Crescent, heroin is a product of the poppy, with opium poppy cultivation commonly found in the likes of Myanmar, Laos and Thailand as well as Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

It’s a major source of income for farmers in these countries, where poverty and instability are hugely prevalent. Illegal drugs then becomes an out to that, helping farmers provide for their families. 

Synthetic Drugs

Synthetic drugs aren’t derived from plants and therefore aren’t necessarily refined to a certain area. These, instead, are produced in clandestine laboratories all over the world. Typically found in countries where there’s good access to the chemicals that make up the drug and where regulation oversight is a little more lax, production involves a range of chemicals and can often be found being made in Eastern Europe, Latin America and Southeast Asia.

Pharmaceutical Drugs

Finally, pharmaceutical drugs are legal but can be subject to abuse. Prescription drugs are made all over the world and often support their own country’s healthcare system. However, illegal trade of them often comes via fraudulant prescriptions or theft, which then hit the streets and can cause huge amounts of damage, as we’re currently seeing in the likes of the USA.

Incredible Planet Staff

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