Cost of Illegal Drugs Plummets 

Cost of Illegal Drugs Plummets 
Posted by CN Staff on May 27, 2002 at 18:39:42 PT
Staff and Agencies
Source: Guardian Unlimited UK
The price of illegal drugs has fallen sharply over the past 12 years, triggering claims that drugs are now cheaper and more attractive to young people than alcohol. According to Home Office figures released today, the prices of ecstasy, cocaine, heroin and cannabis have all dropped since 1990. The cost of an ecstasy tablet fell from 18.80 in 1990 to 7 in 2000, while the cost of legal, taxable drugs such as cigarettes and alcohol has risen over the same period. 
Liberal Democrat MP David Laws, who obtained the Home Office figures, said the falling prices proved the government's bid to crack down on the drugs trade was failing. "The fact that prices have fallen so substantially proves that people must be finding it easier to get drugs into the country," said Mr Laws, MP for Yeovil. The figures, prepared for the Home Office by the National Criminal Intelligence Service, showed the average cost of crack cocaine had fallen by more than 4 per "rock" (about 0.2g) since 1990. Heroin fell from 90 per gram to 63, cocaine from 87 per gram to 60 and amphetamines from 13.80 to 9 for the same amount. Ecstasy fell from 18.80 to 7 per pill and LSD from 4.20 to 3.40 per tab, according to the Home Office figures. The price of cannabis resin also fell, from 91.80 per ounce in November 1990 to 77 in December last year. The only listed drug to have risen in price was herbal cannabis, which increased from 59.30 per ounce in 1990 to 80 in 2001.Mr Laws said he had tabled a parliamentary question about the cost of drugs because of fears among police that a fall in the cost of crack cocaine had led to a 20% rise in crime. He said many areas, particularly rural towns and villages, did not have sufficient resources to tackle the drugs problem, or offer help to addicts. In 1998, it was estimated that about a million people in Britain took ecstasy each weekend. Ecstasy-related deaths increased from eight in 1993 to 36 in 2000. An ICM poll for the Observer last month found that more than half of Britons aged between 16 and 24 had taken illegal drugs, as had two-fifths of 25 to 34-year-olds and a third of those between 35 and 44. The survey found that five million regularly used cannabis, 2.4 million took ecstasy and two million used amphetamines and cocaine. The home affairs select committee last week called for ecstasy to be grouped in class B, alongside amphetamines and barbiturates, rather than in class A, with heroin and cocaine. But the home secretary, David Blunkett, rejected that call, saying re-classification of the drug was "not on the government's agenda".Mr Laws said: "The way in which we have drawn up the classification between legal and illegal drugs may have helped to create an incentive for people to cross from legal to illegal drugs. "It could force more young people towards drugs, particularly in the more deprived areas." Special Report: Drugs in Britain:,2759,178206,00.htmlSource: Guardian Unlimited, The (UK)Published: Monday, May 27, 2002Copyright: 2002 Guardian Newspapers LimitedContact: letters Articles & Web Site:Drugs Uncovered: Observer Special Judge Calls For Legalisation Of Cannabis Signal New Era in Drugs War The Uncovered Poll - Observer UK
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