Gangs, gang evolution and young people’s involvement in drug supply and distribution in Scotland

Ross Deuchar*, Robert McLean

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Gangs, Gang Evolution and Young People’s Involvement in Drug Supply and Distribution in Scotland, Ross Deuchar and Robert McLean examine the changing nature of youth street gang formation in Scotland. In particular, they focus on Glasgow and the west of Scotland, because of the historical prevalence of gang culture, knife crime and violence. Just over a decade ago gang violence contributed to Glasgow being dubbed ‘the murder capital of Europe’, yet by 2015 commentators were suggesting that the city’s gang problem had been solved as a result of intensive intervention from law enforcement and voluntary and third sector agencies. However, since 2015 there has been a significant increase in drug use, and more worryingly drug deaths, in the country, particularly among young people. Organised crime groups using young people as ‘runners’ have come to dominate drug supply. They draw upon their interviews with young people between 2019 and 2020, to chart the evolution of street gangs, engaged primarily in territorial conflict, into an integral part of illicit drug supply in the region.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Youth Gangs in the UK
EditorsPaul Andell, John Pitts
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9783030996581
ISBN (Print)9783030996574
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2023


  • Scottish drug supply
  • Glasgow gangs


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