Home delivery services of illegal drugs

A qualitative study of the “Ubernisation” of drug markets. We explore illegal drug distribution organised as home delivery services from dealer and user perspectives.


Drug dealing becomes more and more focused on customer service and accessibility in the same way as other businesses such as pizza delivery. The aim of this study is to shed light on delivery services in the field of drug dealing – especially cannabis and cocaine - to help us gain a better understanding of the way the Danish drug markets are developing.


The proliferation of novel communication technologies has enable novel ways of distributing and sourcing illegal drugs. One example of this is the growing use of mobile phones and encrypted communication applications, which has enabled drug users to source drugs from dealers offering home delivery services. While not a new phenomenon, research indicates that drug distribution organised as home delivery services is accelerating. As an indication of this, the EMCDDA recently described how the European market for cocaine is undergoing a process of “[u]bernisation”, where sellers promote additional services beyond the product itself, such as “fast delivery anywhere at any time” (2018, p. 18). This development indicates that the selling of drugs has increasingly become a service – a delivery service – on par with other services in contemporary consumer society. Similar to the development in other western countries drug delivery services are today an important form of cocaine and cannabis distribution in Denmark. Against this background, this project seeks to produce new knowledge about current changes in retail-level drug distribution, by use of the case of “ring-and-bring” drug delivery.

The study

This project is composed of two sub-studies.
The first sub-study is based on in-depth interviews with young men working as delivery dealers in Denmark, and aims to produce knowledge about the social and technical organisation of home delivery dealing. As part of this study, we ask delivery dealers:

  • how they got involved in drug dealing
  • what dealing means for them
  • what communication technologies they use to communicate with buyers and coordinate deliveries
  • how they try to avoid police detection
  • how are their delivery practices

The second sub-study aims to produce knowledge about drug users’ experience and motives for sourcing drugs from delivery services. This sub-study is based on in-depth interviews with young men and women who have first-hand experiences with sourcing illegal drugs from delivery dealers. In interviews, we ask the users about:

  • the communication technology they use to contact dealers
  • motives for sourcing drug from delivery dealers
  • their interactive experiences with dealers
  • how they believe their use of delivery dealers (rapid and convenient access to drugs) impact on the level of drug use


The project is funded by Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research.