Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Price of heroin

One of the accidental consequences of the "War on Terror" is the US market for heroin is now flooded with cheap, strong Afghan heroin. As Mark Kleiman of the Reality-Based Community explains:

The reporter places no emphasis on the most astonishing (if true) fact in the story: grams of highly pure Afghan heroin are now trading at $90 in LA. That's about a dime per pure milligram, compared with $2.50 a pure milligram in New York during the "French Connection" days. For a naive user, 5mg of heroin is a hefty dose, so your first heroin experience is now available for less than the price of a candy bar.

Ain't competition grand?


Heroin, even more than cocaine, illustrates the near-futility of trying to use drug law enforcement to control drug abuse once a drug has found a mass market. Prices have been dropping (about 80% in inflation-adjusted terms for cocaine, much more than that for heroin) even as the number of dealers going to prison has soared.

Taken at face-value, this suggests that competition and market forces could lead to falling profits for the Mister Bigs in the drug trade. But then, it could easily go the other way: a lower prices leading to a larger market and more over-all profit.

Either way, anyone who still believes that prohibition is the answer is clearly living in Cloud Cuckoo Land. It isn't working now, and it has never worked, ever.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Speaking of drugs: what is it with US republicans and drugs? Sorry- I know lots of people are in pain, but really. Isn't it about time there was mandatory random drug testing for government officials? From the Guardian:

Top US judge had delusions during detox, FBI files reveal

· Late supreme court chief was addicted to sedatives
· Rehnquist thought CIA was plotting against him

Ed Pilkington New York
Saturday January 6, 2007
The Guardian

William Rehnquist, the late head of the US supreme court, was so addicted to sedatives that when he stopped taking the drugs he had hallucinations that the CIA was plotting against him, newly released FBI records reveal.

The papers, running to 1,561 pages, are the product of an FBI investigation into Rehnquist's drug dependency which is revealed to be much more serious than previously known. They show that he went into detox having been prescribed sedatives shortly before he was appointed by President Richard Nixon onto the supreme court 10 years previously.

Article continues
The papers show that he withdrew from the drugs during a week at the George Washington University hospital in 1981, and suffered paranoid delusions.

One doctor said Rehnquist complained that the designs on the curtains were moving and that he heard voices outside his hospital room in which CIA operatives plotted against him. The judge was found in the lobby of the hospital in his pyjamas trying to escape.

It was already known that Rehnquist was dependant on Placidyl, a sedative he was prescribed for back pain and which is addictive. But the extent of his dependency is only now apparent, with the papers revealing that by the time of his detox he was on nightly doses of 1,500mg, three times the norm.

During the course of 33 years on the court Rehnquist came to represent the increasingly conservative face of US justice. When he took his seat in January 1972 the court was largely liberal in complexion, and remained so during the 1970s and 1980s until President Reagan managed to transform its composition. He nominated Rehnquist to the top judicial post of chief justice of the supreme court in 1986, a job which Rehnquist held until his death in September 2005.

The chief justice was controversial, having supported the segregation of southern schools in a legal memo written in 1952 and having been accused of attempting to prevent black and Hispanic people registering to vote while acting as a Republican election volunteer in Arizona in the 1960s. He also opposed abortion and was in favour of allowing religion to have a greater presence in public life.

[full article here-- http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,,1983974,00.html]

Mrs Cake