The Bottom Line Up Front

Exposing the transnational networks and supply chains that fuel global drug trafficking and the ongoing opioid epidemic.

In the United States alone, the global opioid epidemic has claimed over 600,000 lives since 1999. In this time period, narcotics trafficking networks have grown significantly more complex and new types of synthetic drugs and chemical precursors have emerged as a major health and security risk — particularly fentanyl with a potency over 50 times that of heroin. Meanwhile, new trafficking techniques, hard-to-trace digital marketplaces, payment services, and digital currencies continue to proliferate, widening the gap in understanding how production and supply networks are distributing illicit narcotics into the hands of consumers.

C4ADS is focused on exposing the networks behind synthetic opioids and hindering their operations and supply chains. We track indicators of risky activity online and in global systems of commerce such as money wiring services. We conduct detailed network investigations, integrating multiple sources of data, like seizures and e-commerce website scrapes, to create a nuanced understanding of how synthetic trafficking networks operate globally. We then use our findings to provide enforcement authorities and policymakers actionable analysis to inform their decision-making and ultimately stop the opioid epidemic.