HONG KONG —The global war on drugs is failing, new research suggests, as the price of heroin, cocaine and cannabis has fallen while their purity has increased.
Using seven sets of government drug surveillance data, a team of Canadian and U.S. researchers reviewed drug supply in the United States, Europe and Australia and drug production in regions such as Latin America, Afghanistan and Southeast Asia.
They found that illegal drugs have become cheaper while their potency has increased, indicating that efforts to control “the global illegal drug market through law enforcement are failing.”
“During the past two decades, the supply of major illegal drugs has increased, as measured through a general decline in the prices and a general increase in the purity of illegal drugs in a variety of settings,” said the study, which was published by BMJ Open, an open-access journal published by the British Medical Journal.
In the U.S., the average price of heroin, cocaine and cannabis decreased by at least 80 percent between 1990 and 2007.