According to new research conducted by Professor Evan Wood at the University of British Columbia and colleagues that was published in the British Medical Journal on Sept. 30, 2013, the world is losing the war on illegal drugs and has been losing that war for the last 20 years.
The drug trade nets about $350 billion every year according to the most recent statistics from the United Nations.
Across the world drug prices have dropped while purity has increased. Availability has increased despite an increase in seizures in the countries that produce drugs and in the countries that are the major markets for illegal drugs.
In the United States the average street price for heroin, cocaine and cannabis fell by 81 percent, 80 percent, and 86 percent, respectively, whereas the purity and potency of these drugs increased by 60 percent, 11 percent, and 161 percent, respectively.
The authors conclude that “the global supply of illicit drugs has likely not been reduced in the previous two decades."
The research was based on data taken from seven international government-funded drug surveillance systems, which had at least 10 years of information on the price and purity of cannabis, cocaine and opiates, including heroin. Three of the surveillance reports were international, three came from the United States, and one came from Australia.