Illegal drugs in Europe are cheaper today than ever before according to a new report. The Europe-wide survey on drug prices – the first of its kind – shows a slump across the board from cannabis to heroin between 1999 and 2004. While there is no long term data on the street price of drugs, the report says available information reveals it is lower than a decade ago.
Analysts put the steep fall in heroin prices down to the surge in production in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.
Wolfgang Gotz, head of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction:
“Obviously, the situation in Afghanistan plays a major role – 90 percent of the world production comes from there – so any heroin you’ll find here in Europe most likely comes from Afghanistan.”
Drug prices still vary considerably within Europe, with a gram of cannabis costing just over 2 euros in Portugal and 12 euros in Norway.
Cocaine is increasingly popular according to Paul Griffith from the Monitoring Centre:
“We’ve seen rates, particularly in the UK and Spain but also the Netherlands, Italy and a number of other countries now, where the drug was virtually at a very low preference and is now becoming the second most popular illicit drug after cannabis. So, a big change in the cocaine situation in Europe.”
The report does point out, however, that price is just one of several factors that prompts people to take drugs and that there is no simple way of saying it is encouraging more people to do so.