Drug trafficking is ultimately fueled by the economic principle of supply and demand in a world where there is a high demand for illicit substances that cannot be obtained through any legal means. With large amounts of money to be made, traffickers keep moving their products, thereby increasing their power.
Increases in drug-enforcement spending and personnel have had little to no effect on the drug trade. Since the 1990s, policymakers, especially those in farming and transitional states, have spoken out against prohibition of the illicit substances. Many researchers believe that a new drug-policy paradigm rooted in decriminalization would cripple drug traffickers as it did to bootleggers after the end of alcohol prohibition in the United States. The main deterrent to this course of action is that legalizing such substances might be perceived as endorsing their use.