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Thu, 06 Jun


The Conduit

Global Drugs Crisis

From Southeast Asia’s hidden drug empires to the battlefields of Syria and the streets of Britain, learn how global and regional conflicts shape the drug trade and vice versa.

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Global Drugs Crisis
Global Drugs Crisis

Time & Location

06 Jun 2024, 18:00 – 19:00

The Conduit, 6 Langley St, London WC2H 9JA, UK

About the event

The global drug crisis is deeply intertwined with geopolitical conflicts. Synthetic opioids like fentanyl, primarily produced in Mexico with chemical precursors sourced from China, have fueled a public health crisis in North America.

Meanwhile, Captagon has become a significant problem in the Middle East, particularly in conflict zones like Syria, which is estimated to produce about 80% of the world’s supply. The drug has been linked to various militia groups and is believed to be a financial lifeline for the Assad regime.

The Wa State in Myanmar continues to be a significant player in the global methamphetamine and opium markets. Governed by its own strict set of laws and backed by a formidable army, Wa State operates almost as an independent nation funded significantly through drug trafficking.

Our panel will look into the complex world of drug trafficking, how global and regional conflicts shape the drug trade and vice versa and examine the nexus between international policy, regional conflicts, and the global narcotics market.


Patrick Winn is an award-winning investigative journalist. He mostly covers rebellion and black markets in Southeast Asia. He is the Asia correspondent for The World, a radio program broadcast on more than 300 NPR stations across America. His latest book Narcotopia: In Search of the Asian Drug Cartel that Survived the CIA is published in May 2024 and will be available for sale at the event.

Emma Beals is a Senior Advisor at the European Institute of Peace, a non-resident fellow at the Middle East Institute, and the former co-founder and editor of Syria in Context. She is an independent consultant focused on Syria and conflict.

Max Daly is Global Drugs Editor for Vice News and co-author of Narcomania: How Britain Got Hooked on Drugs. Max focuses on the broader implications of drug policies and their socio-economic impacts across Europe and beyond.

Moderated by Chris Morris, CEO of Full Fact. He was a foreign correspondent with the BBC for more than 25 years, based in Colombo, Washington, Istanbul, Brussels and Delhi. He spent ten years during two postings as Europe correspondent, reporting from across the continent. He’s also an expert in EU politics and UK/EU relations, leading the BBC’s on-air fact-checking team.

He is the author of The New Turkey: The Quiet Revolution On The Edge Of Europe

This is an On Front Line event in collaboration with The Conduit London.


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