According to a report on LiveScience on Friday, a new study has found that cocaine, heroin and marijuana have become cheaper and stronger over the past two decades, despite increases in drug seizures by authorities fighting the global illegal drug market.
The researchers looked at seven international drug surveillance databases to examine how the purity and price of illegal drugs changed between 1990 and 2009.
In the United States, the average purity of heroin, cocaine and marijuana increased by 60, 11, and 160 percent respectively, between 1990 and 2007, while the prices of these drugs, adjusted for inflation and purity, fell about 80 percent.
Similar trends were seen in Europe over the same period, while in Australia the price of cocaine, heroin and cannabis fell by 14% to 49% between 2000 and 2010.
Seizures of cannabis by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration increased by 465% between 1990 and 2010, heroin seizures increased by 29%, but cocaine seizures fell by 49% over the same period.
At the same time, the purity and potency of those drugs has increased, said the study published in the latest issue of the British Medical Journal "Open."
Werner Antweiler, a professor of economics at the Sauder School of Business at UBC, has studied the illicit drug economy and said the study results are no surprise. "The drug problem has not become less, but more," Antweiler said.
The researchers said the findings highlight the need to re-examine the effectiveness of drug control strategies that place a disproportionate emphasis on supply reduction instead of aiming to prevent and treat illegal drug use.
Emily Sutherlin is also the Pregnancy Examiner.
Got something to say? Say it on Examiner by following this link to sign up.
©2013 Emily M. Sutherlin. All Rights Reserved.