View attachment 53777 Australia is the third most expensive place for a hedonistic night on the town, as the Bloomberg Vice Index compared drug, alcohol and cigarette prices internationally to find the most expensive 'basket of vice'.
The US price of the basket, consisting of cigarettes, alcohol, amphetamine, cannabis, cocaine and opioids, at $400USD, or a third of an American's weekly income, was used as the benchmark comparison for global prices with data from the UN's World Drug Report and the World Health Organisation.
Venezuela was found to be the most expensive, rampant inflation meant locals had to spend 17 times their weekly income for a bottle of beer, a packet of smokes and a gram of cocaine.
In terms of absolute cost Japan was the next most expensive, followed by Australia at third where the basket would cost you $984.20 with law enforcement and distance from the source affecting distribution costs.
If compared with ABS data on an Australian's average weekly pay your binge would cost you more than three quarters of your pay cheque.
Professor at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, Philip Cook said successful law enforcement would affect the street price of illegal goods too, like alcohol and cigarettes, to prevent smuggled alternatives but the index was more reflective on local taxes when comparing alcohol and cigarettes.
"Illegal drugs prices will of course have a premium that reflects local zeal for enforcement," Mr Cook said.
"It's all about distribution costs," said Peter Reuter, a professor in the School of Public Policy and the Department of Criminology at the University of Maryland. "Being closer to the producer lowers costs."
Luxembourg was the cheapest place for the Bloomberg special, relative to the local average income, with the basket costing $259.30USD taking only 12.7 per cent of your weekly wage compared to 1762.5 per cent in Venezuela.
In terms of absolute costs, the cheapest price could be found in Congo, Honduras and Laos.
A market basket runs below $100USD in 18 countries, all of which are emerging or frontier markets from Peru to Cambodia. Many of these places were close to the source, such as the Golden Triangle, an opium-producing region of Asia.
The index considered didn't just rate based off absolute cost, but local wage, inflation, the risk of drug-taking in countries with harsh anti-drug laws, like the Philippines or Thailand, and the overall law enforcement and border control of countries.
In detail, the sinful basket contained -
a pack of cigarettes, most popular and premium brands; a bottle of alcoholic beverages, including beer, wine and spirits; a gram of amphetamine-type stimulants, including amphetamine, methamphetamine and/or ecstasy; a gram of cannabis, including marijuana herb, hashish resin and/or cannabis oil; a gram of cocaine, regardless of salts, paste or base forms; a gram of opioids, including heroin and/or opium.
By Finbar O'Mallen - The Canberra Times/Jan. 12, 2017
Art: 1-Ivan Minsloff, laweekyly; 2- Bloomberg
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