War on illegal drugs failing, study shows
PARIS - Agence France-Presse
Seizures of illegal drugs have risen worldwide, however, the price of heroin, cocaine and cannabis have fallen at the same time, a recent report says. REUTERS PhotoThe global war on heroin, cocaine and cannabis is failing to stem supply, as prices of these drugs have tumbled while seizures of them have risen, according to a study published on Sept. 30.
Researchers analyzed data from seven government-funded programs that tracked the illegal drug market over more than a decade. Three of the programs monitored international drugs trafficking; three focused on the United States; and one tracked the drugs business in Australia.
The prices of heroin, cocaine and cannabis tumbled by 81 percent, 80 percent and 86 percent respectively between 1990 and 2007 in the U.S. when adjusted for inflation, the researchers found. Over the same period, the average purity of these drugs rose by 60 percent, 11 percent and 161 percent respectively. In 18 European countries, the street price of cocaine and heroin fell by 51 and 74 percent between 2000 and 2009. Neither the purity of drugs seized in Europe nor the price of cannabis on the continent was given in the study.
“During this time, seizures of these drugs in major domestic markets generally increased,” said the study’s authors, led by Evan Wood of the Urban Health Research Initiative in Canada. In a 2011 report, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimated the global illegal drug trade to be worth at least $350 billion annually. The global supply of illicit drugs had likely not been reduced in the last two decades, the study said, and the availability of cannabis and opiates like heroin may even have increased.