World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Drug tourism

Article Id: WHEBN0001251434
Reproduction Date:

Title: Drug tourism  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Drug policy of the Netherlands, Tourism, Drug culture, Harm reduction, Alcoholic beverage
Collection: Drug Culture, Types of Tourism
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Drug tourism

Drug tourism is travel for the purpose of obtaining or using drugs for recreational or medicinal use that are unavailable, illegal or very expensive in one's home jurisdiction. A drug tourist may cross a national border to obtain a drug that is not sold in one's home country, or to obtain an illegal drug that is more available in the visited destination. A drug tourist may also cross a sub-national border (from one province/county/state to another) in order to purchase alcohol or tobacco more easily, or at a lower price due to tax laws or other regulations.

Empirical studies show that drug tourism is heterogeneous and might involve either the pursuit of mere pleasure and escapism or a quest for profound and meaningful experiences through the consumption of drugs.

Drug tourism has many legal implications, and persons engaging in it sometimes risk prosecution for drug smuggling or other drug-related charges in their home jurisdictions or in the jurisdictions they are visiting, especially if they bring their purchases home rather than using them abroad. The act of traveling for the purpose of buying or using drugs is itself a criminal offense in some jurisdictions.


  • By country/region 1
    • Asia/Middle East 1.1
    • Europe 1.2
    • North America 1.3
      • Colorado and Washington 1.3.1
    • South America 1.4
    • Oceania 1.5
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • References 4

By country/region

Asia/Middle East

Malana, India is famous for its production of Indian hashish, attracting foreign tourists. Indian pharmacies also sell many generic drugs at prices far lower than in the US.[1]

The Rif Mountains of Morocco are a well-known center for the production of hashish.


A sign of a cannabis coffee shop in Amsterdam

In Europe, the Netherlands, and especially the Dutch capital, Amsterdam, is a popular destination for drug tourists, due to the liberal attitude of the Dutch toward cannabis use and possession. Drug tourism thrives because legislation controlling the sale, possession, and use of drugs varies dramatically from one jurisdiction to another.

Warning sign in Amsterdam after 3 tourists died after taking white heroin that was sold as cocaine

In May 2011 the Dutch government announced that tourists would to be banned from Dutch coffeeshops, starting in the southern provinces at the end of 2011,[2] and the rest of the country by 2012,[3] though this was never made into law and thus coffeeshops throughout the Netherlands continue remain open to tourists as of August 2014. On 25 November 2014 two British tourists aged 20 and 21 died in a hotel room in Amsterdam, after snorting white heroin that was sold as cocaine by a street dealer.[4] The bodies were found less than a month after another British tourist died in similar circumstances. At least 17 other people have had medical treatment after taking the white heroin.[5]

North America

Drug tourism from the United States occurs in many contexts. Americans between the ages of 18 and 21 may cross the border into Canada or Mexico to purchase alcohol. Conversely, many Canadians travel to the United States to purchase alcohol at lower prices due to high taxes levied on alcohol in Canada. Americans living in dry counties also frequently cross county or state lines to purchase alcohol.

Many Americans cross state lines to purchase cigarettes, crossing from a jurisdiction with very high cigarette taxes to a jurisdiction (such as another state or an Indian nation) with lower cigarette taxes. This occurs particularly in the Northeastern United States, where states levy among the highest tobacco taxes in the nation.

Colorado and Washington

Since the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington state, many drug tourists from states and countries where cannabis is illegal travel to these states to purchase cannabis and cannabis products.

South America

In South America, some tourists are attracted to Amazonian villages to try a local liquid called ayahuasca which is a mixture of psychedelic plants that is used in traditional ceremonies. Similarly, tourists in Peru try hallucinogenic cactus called San Pedro which originally has been used by local tribes.


In Australia, the Australian Capital Territory and South Australia have a more liberal approach to marijuana use, promoting interstate drug tourism, particularly from Victoria and New South Wales. In addition, some areas of northern New South Wales have a liberal recreational drug culture, particularly areas around Nimbin where the annual MardiGrass festival is held.

See also


  • Belhassen, Y., Santos, C.A., & Uriely, N. (2007). “Cannabis Use in Tourism: A Sociological Perspective.” Leisure Studies, 26(3), 303–19.
  • Bellis, M. A., Hale, G., Bennett, A., Chaudry, M. & Kilfoyle, M. (2000). "Ibiza Uncovered: Changes in Substanceuse and Sexual Behaviour amongst Young People Visiting an International Night-Life Resort." International Journal of Drug Policy, 11(3), 235–44.
  • de Rios, M. (1994). "Drug Tourism in the Amazon: Why Westerners are Desperate to Find the Vanishing Primate." Omni 16, 6–9.
  • Josiam, M. B, J. S. P. Hobson, U. C. Dietrich, & G. Smeaton (1998). “An Analysis of the Sexual, Alcohol and Drug Related Behavioral Patterns of Students on Spring Break.” Tourism Management, 19 (6), 501–13.
  • Sellars, A. (1998). “The Influence of Dance Music on the UK Youth Tourism Market.” Tourism Management, 19 (6), 611–15.
  • Uriely, N. & Belhassen, Y. (2005). “Drugs and Tourists’ Experiences.” Journal of Travel Research, 43(3), 238–46.
  • Uriely, N. & Belhassen, Y. (2006) “Drugs and Risk Taking in Tourism.” Annals of Tourism Research, 33(2), 339–59.
  • Valdez, A., & Sifaneck, S. (1997). "Drug Tourists and Drug Policy on the U.S.-Mexican Border: An Ethnographic Investigation." Journal of Drug Issues, 27, 879–98.
Sanhaji Amine,  Y. (2014). “Drugs and Tourists’ Experiences.” Cannabis Cup 2013, 43(3), 238–46.


  1. ^ "Specialty Drug Classes That Are Costing Consumers an Arm and a Leg".  
  2. ^ Tourists Face Weed Ban In Dutch Coffee Shops, Sky News, May 28, 2011
  3. ^ Tourists to be banned from Dutch cannabis cafes, nydailynews, November 14, 2011 ,
  4. ^ Drugs expert claims rogue dealer caused Amsterdam deaths
  5. ^ British tourists who died ‘after snorting white heroin’ named The Guardian October 27, 2011 September 20, 2012

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.