Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Line by Line
June 24, 2011 2:45 PM   Subscribe

The Street Price of Cocaine, Country to Country The Economist's report is based on data from the UN's recently released World Drug Report.
posted by modernnomad (43 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
I assume the prices appear inflated because they are attempting to adjust for varying purity levels in different countries, so they are referring to a 'pure' gram.
posted by modernnomad at 2:47 PM on June 24, 2011


That UK price looks about right for the street price. And purity here is reportedly very low.
posted by Infinite Jest at 2:51 PM on June 24, 2011


This data does not corroborate the claim that Norway is the happiest country.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:57 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


they are referring to a 'pure' gram.

I think that here in the US, for purposes of charging and sentencing, the impurities and cut are counted as drug weight. As long as it contains cocaine, and is presented as cocaine, the purported weight is what counts.
posted by StickyCarpet at 3:08 PM on June 24, 2011


As long as it contains cocaine, and is presented as cocaine, the purported weight is what counts.

I may be wrong, but I believe that it doesn't even have to contain cocaine at all, as long as it is being represented as cocaine. /pedant
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:13 PM on June 24, 2011


I speak to British backpackers and they can't believe how expensive drugs are in Australia.

Let's say you want to buy a disco biscuit for a special occasion. You haven't had one in years, and you're out of the loop in terms of scoring, and have to go thru a work mate of a friend of a friend. Don't be surprised if it sets you back $USD60 or £GBP35.

And I've been told the quality is a lot worse, on average.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 3:13 PM on June 24, 2011


Huh. The US price and Greece price are almost the same. Yet the usage % in the US is 2.4%, while it's 0.1% in Greece.

So why does the much, much lower demand/market in Greece equate to such a relatively high cost? Is it better interdiction, driving down supply? Or is it something else?
posted by darkstar at 3:14 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Or maybe the demand for it is so low that there's no functional supply chain. So when people do want it, they have to pay through the nose to get it?
posted by darkstar at 3:15 PM on June 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


I see what you did there.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 3:19 PM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


In Canada, I was offered a gram for $70. He did not take well to my counteroffer of $1.12 and 15¢ in Canadian tire money.
posted by Seiten Taisei at 3:21 PM on June 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


So my quick back-of-the napkin math tells me that according to this we have about 7 million people in the US that use cocaine?

I figured it would be higher than that. I guess too many years worth of bad action movies have led me to believe that it was extremely prevalent.
posted by quin at 3:22 PM on June 24, 2011


It's hard to be sure from reading the chart, but there doesn't seem to be any correlation between price and prevalence, either at the top or the bottom.
posted by epersonae at 3:23 PM on June 24, 2011


quin: "I guess too many years worth of bad action movies have led me to believe that it was extremely prevalent."

Or maybe it was the mountain of coke of Tony Montana's desk.
posted by bwg at 3:29 PM on June 24, 2011


Wow, higher than I would have though. Recently someone offered me some for a cigarette. But I guess cigarettes are just super expensive now.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:29 PM on June 24, 2011


Wow. The street price in the US is not just off, its more than twice as much as it goes for in the pacific nw. Here it's classified by who you get it from. Punks have the worst, hipsters have better, and gays have the best.

So I've heard.
posted by Betty_effn_White at 3:31 PM on June 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


"So when people do want it, they have to pay through the nose to get it?"

*rimshot*
posted by bwg at 3:34 PM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Punks have the worst, hipsters have better, and gays have the best.

This is nearly true for all things in life.
posted by munchingzombie at 4:03 PM on June 24, 2011 [15 favorites]


Quantitative easing has turned our streets into cheap-coke hell strips.

THANKS FOR NOTHING, BANK OF ENGLAND.
posted by TheAlarminglySwollenFinger at 4:06 PM on June 24, 2011


It would be interesting to know how much methamphetamine affects the cocaine market in the U.S. I suppose meth has found a home in Europe and Asia as well?
posted by Xoebe at 4:24 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Many of the comments on that article are calling the price into question. Does anyone here know where they got this average price? Maybe that's the flaw in the study, since it seems odd to me too that the US has expensive coke. Or maybe it's just that here we have crack, which is much much MUCH better.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:46 PM on June 24, 2011


Oh well Krokodil is still cheap.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:48 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I speak to British backpackers and they can't believe how expensive drugs are in Australia.

Australia is far away from other countries and has a notoriously tight customs/quarantine regime, making any drugs that can't be locally grown somewhat tricky to procure.

Mind you, I suspect that the fact that the streets of Melbourne aren't awash with coke has something to do with the general non-wankiness of the local music/art scenes, at least compared to those in London.
posted by acb at 4:48 PM on June 24, 2011


Agreeing with Betty_effn_White here.

I've paid $60/gram in VA pretty regularly when I was doing such things.
posted by kuanes at 4:56 PM on June 24, 2011


So my quick back-of-the napkin math tells me that according to this we have about 7 million people in the US that use cocaine?

I figured it would be higher than that


Well, lots more have tried it a time or three (myself included) but regular use has been linked to terminal douchebaggery, so it'll always be a limited market.
posted by jonmc at 5:00 PM on June 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Say what you want to abot Coke, it is one of the finest drink . I do not deny that Pepsi too is good, but the sound COKE please is too good. I thank you Firozali A.Mulla DBA
posted by soma lkzx at 5:17 PM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh well Krokodil is still cheap.

Lovely stuff. [NSFW!]
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:22 PM on June 24, 2011


Let's say you want to buy a disco biscuit for a special occasion...

What the hell is a disco biscuit?
posted by troll at 5:23 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


So why does the much, much lower demand/market in Greece equate to such a relatively high cost? Is it better interdiction, driving down supply? Or is it something else?

I suspect it's a geographic thing. Cocaine in Greece? It would have to travel a heck of a long way to get there. Hashish or heroin, on the other hand...

I'll bet he price is low because the usage is low, and the usage is low because other drugs are more prevalent. But that's just a guess.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:31 PM on June 24, 2011


What the hell is a disco biscuit?

A Quaalude.
posted by jonmc at 5:41 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is anybody else kinda surprised that 2.4% of Americans use cocaine? Have these people not heard of drug-related violence, or something?
posted by GIFtheory at 6:31 PM on June 24, 2011


What the hell is a disco biscuit?

An otherwise good jam band with a really, really terrible vocalist.
posted by Afroblanco at 6:37 PM on June 24, 2011


That's a pretty short list of countries.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:44 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've paid $60/gram in VA pretty regularly when I was doing such things.
50$ in Oregon.
posted by Betty_effn_White at 7:45 PM on June 24, 2011


For comparison, prescription cocaine (it's legal in the US, among other places) costs about $25 for 30 grams, wholesale. So, nearly free.
posted by jedicus at 8:00 PM on June 24, 2011


In Australia you'd be very lucky to get a gram for less than $300. And what you'd actually end up with, who knows? Always seemed like a losing proposition to me.
posted by Philby at 9:23 PM on June 24, 2011


So why does the much, much lower demand/market in Greece equate to such a relatively high cost?

Standard effect of economies of scale probably: it's a smaller market, some of the costs probably do not scale down well, so the suppliers are going after the market segment that can afford to pay more. My guess is the typical Greek rich asshole enjoys spending the money more than snorting the stuff - not a good strategy for keeping prices down.
posted by Dr Dracator at 10:29 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Punks have the worst, hipsters have better, and gays have the best.

This is nearly true for all things in life.


Except music, where the inverse is true.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:50 PM on June 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Speaking of Austalia and cocaine, they used to grow coca in Java, back in the day. I've heard it's still around, so maybe Australian's can save a few mexicans and buy local?
posted by Samuel Farrow at 2:10 AM on June 25, 2011


I speak to British backpackers and they can't believe how expensive drugs are in Australia.

I recently saw some data on the cost of cocaine in Australia; the estimate was between $180,000 and $250,000 per kilo (pure). That's over 100 times the cost of the equivalent amount in the US.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:17 AM on June 25, 2011


So why does the much, much lower demand/market in Greece equate to such a relatively high cost?

I also guess that it's a geographical thing. Greece is the Europe's point of entry for Afghan heroin and Libanese hash, but Colombian cocaine mostly enters through Spain, Holland and Britain. Synthetic drugs are mostly made in domestic Dutch and Eastern European labs.

It's also interesting to note that the once-bubbliest economies (US, Spain, Ireland and Britain) also report some of the highest coke use. It makes sense that there's a link between cocaine and real estate speculation (increased disposable incomes, opportunities for money laundering, and, not least, coke-fueled overconfidence).
posted by Skeptic at 4:42 AM on June 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is meaningless unless it is combined with the Big Mac Index. Instead of dollars per gram of cocaine, it would be much more useful to know how many Big Macs you could buy per gram of cocaine.
posted by grouse at 9:30 AM on June 25, 2011


It's interesting that coke is 4x more popular in the US than in Portugal, where it's legal.
posted by Peevish at 2:06 PM on June 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Peevish Coke is most definitively not legal in Portugal. While personal use is not prosecuted, its trade certainly is. The reason for the low price of cocaine there is that the Iberian peninsula is the main gateway for cocaine into Europe. Historically, most of the trade has gone through the rugged coastline of Galicia, just north of Portugal. Although smuggling appears to have been quite successfully suppressed in Galicia in the last couple of years, it makes sense that cocaine remains cheaply available in a country with a long Atlantic coast and close links to Africa, the Colombian mob's new trade hub.
posted by Skeptic at 4:32 PM on June 25, 2011


« Older Swimming Pool is a piece by Argentinian artist Lea...  |  "I decided to get supersuicida... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments