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Drug availability up PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 13 May 2010 00:00

Drug availability up

The price and purity of illegal drugs on the street is an important, if imprecise, indicator of the availability of drugs. As Figure G illustrates , current price/purity data show cocaine prices at their lowest point since data collection began in 1981. Between February 1993 and February 1995, the retail price of a gram of cocaine fell from $172 to $137. Even larger drops were noted for heroin-from $2,032 to $1,278 per gram over the same period (Figure H). Moreover, the purity of street-level heroin has reached record levels, while cocaine is at near-record purity levels. (Note 14)

The data show that cheaper and purer drugs are getting through to American streets in greater quantities than ever before. Absent evidence of a reduction in drug demand, it is reasonable to conclude that this reflects a substantial increase in supply.

Reinforcing this conclusion is the converse example of sharp price in-creases due to major disruptions in supply. In 1990, for example, an intense law enforcement crackdown on the Medellin Cartel by the Colombian government, combined with concerted U.S. interdiction efforts, paralleled steep increases in the price of cocaine. As shown in Figure I, those price increases coincided with diminished evidence of cocaine use in the United States, including drug-related emergency room admissions and overdose deaths. (Note 15)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 January 2011 22:58

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