But a new study of what drug users think of Scottish drug laws suggests such police tactics have little impact - especially when it comes to the market in hard drugs such as heroin and crack cocaine.
While raids are often an unpleasant surprise for targets, particularly if young children or elderly relatives are present, users say any effect is short-lived. For some, it is just days, or even hours, before local drugs markets are rebuilt and fully functioning again.
One interviewee said: "Dealers maybe stop for a day or two and then they'll go back to it. They'll just not give a f***."
Another, asked how long it takes to "plug the gap" if a dealer is removed, said: "Less than 24 hours." A third responded: "No sooner are they out of the police station and they are back again."
The interviews suggest heroin markets are so well organised they can cope with large seizures and arrests and stay intact.
The authors of the research paper, Nicked: Drug Users' Views of Drug Enforcement, have suggested law enforcement might have a bigger impact by seizing dealers' assets - the source of their power - rather than seeking to arrest them.
The survey was conducted by Glasgow's Centre for Drug Misuse Research and Glasgow University's School of Social and Political Sciences.
Anonymous drug users were interviewed in three areas in Scotland and England - two cities with populations of around 500,000 and a smaller rural town. All three have extensive problems with heroin crack cocaine or both, and all had witnessed high-profile drug busts.
Dr Neil McKeganey, director of the centre, said: "Many law-abiding people would say: 'I am not interested in the views of drug users or drug dealers because they're breaking the law and have given up their right to safety and security within their own homes'.
"But, given that one of the main reasons for doing such raids is to influence the behaviour of those who are selling drugs, if you don't find out the views of those who are the subject of the raids, you will never know whether that tactic is actually working."
McKeganey said of claims about heroin markets being swiftly rebuilt: "This shows how deeply the drugs economy penetrates those communities, that they can weather these costly and dramatic raids which leave the drug market only minimally inconvenienced."
Thirty of the 54 users interviewed had personal experience of raids, labelling them horrible, scary, shocking, embarrassing and frightening.
Most were taken aback by the raids and had not seen them as inevitable despite their drug dependency.
One said: "As soon as they come in the door, they've got you cuffed and they are treating you as if you are guilty ... so they are talking to you like a bit of crap."
Another said: "It's quite annoying ... but those are the perils of taking drugs. Aye, it's an occupational hazard."
Generally, users said raids did not automatically bring a heroin price rise. After some raids, however, users saw other changes. "The quality's gone a bit crap ... and the deals are smaller," one responded.
Another said: "You would be as well keeping your money ... It was being cut, cut, cut. Jumped on, as they call it."
Some users had to travel further afield to get drugs just after a raid.
On the broader fight against drugs, one interviewee said: "They think they're winning but they're fighting a losing battle. I don't ever think they'll win it."
Police officers quoted in the report took a more upbeat view, asserting raids put drug prices up, public concern was appeased, and some caution was instilled in dealers.
One officer said: "Albeit it is a drop in the ocean, you are still taking millions of pounds worth of drugs off the street." Another said: "Appeasing the public is the biggest outcome, really."
McKeganey concluded: "This tells you either the police need to have a longer-term presence within those communities, or they have to tackle the drug market in a longer-term way, and that must involve targeting their financial assets.
"At the end of the day, that's where the dealers' power resides - it's in their capacity to marshal resources through the financial assets they have acquired."
HE added: "We've circulated the results of this research to police forces throughout Europe. Whether or not those involved in drug enforcement feel able to use research … to change their practice, it's hard to know."
Labour shadow justice secretary Graeme Pearson, who prior to being an MSP contributed to the report, said he identified with its findings. The former assistant chief constable of Strathclyde Police and director general of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency said: "There is a need for sustained campaigns against local dealers in order to have impact, rather than just an occasional turnover.
Detective Superintendent Andy Gunn, of Police Scotland's Specialist Crime Division, said: "Enforcement is one element of the strategy which we are committed to, not only from our perspective, but from our communities. It is what they would expect of us.
He said Police Scotland had had many successful drug enforcement actions and "clearly this must have a positive effect on reducing harm."
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: "Enforcement is one small part of a Scotland-wide strategy used by police, prosecutors and government to detect, disrupt, and deter those profiting from crime and protect and reassure communities.
"There is no doubt that the Proceeds of Crime Act is having a real impact on how Scotland's prosecutors and police tackle criminality at every level by giving them the power to hit criminals where it hurts - their wallets."