This from USA Today:
Price of illegal drugs continues to increase
By Donna Leinwand, USA TODAY
Prices for cocaine and methamphetamine have risen for the fourth quarter in a row, a trend law enforcement officials say indicates supply has dropped.
The price for a pure gram of cocaine increased 47% since October 2006. The price of a pure gram of methamphetamine jumped 84%, says a report out Thursday by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
"I don't think anyone is prepared to declare victory, but this is certainly encouraging news," says Scott Burns of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
A gram of pure cocaine cost about $137 in September, up from $93 in October 2006, according to a DEA database that analyzes seized illegal drugs. A gram of pure methamphetamine cost $245 in September, up from $133 in October 2006. The DEA uses the database to gauge illegal drug markets. High prices and low purity generally indicate a short supply. Dealers often use filler ingredients to stretch a drug supply.
Price increases don't necessarily show government success, says Bill Piper, a spokesman for the Drug Policy Alliance, which supports legalizing drugs. "When gasoline prices go up, politicians instinctively know that oil companies are getting rich," Piper says. "When drug prices go up, drug cartels are making money. … More people are going to enter the market because its more profitable."
The Justice Department's annual National Drug Intelligence Estimate, out Wednesday, said cocaine is replacing methamphetamine as the "principal drug threat" in the USA, based on a survey of law enforcement agencies. The assessment reports declines in domestic and smuggled Mexican meth, but increases in Canadian meth.
New state and federal restrictions on ingredients used to make meth have contributed to a decline in homegrown drugs produced in small labs, Burns says.
In the past year, Mexican authorities have sent troops to crack down on trafficking and violent drug gangs.
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