Street price of drugs plunges in 12 years

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The Independent Online

The price of illegal drugs has fallen sharply in the past 12 years, reinforcing fears that young people are using cannabis, cocaine and ecstasy instead of alcohol, government figures released yesterday indicate.

The price of illegal drugs has fallen sharply in the past 12 years, reinforcing fears that young people are using cannabis, cocaine and ecstasy instead of alcohol, government figures released yesterday indicate.

Plummeting street prices for heroin and other illegal drugs contrast with the rising cost of drink and cigarettes, the statistics show. They were produced for the Home Office by police at the National Criminal Intelligence Service.

The research, revealed in a series of parliamentary written answers, found the average price of heroin had fallen from £90 a gram to £53 since 1990, while ecstasy had dropped from £18.80 a dose to £7. The price of cannabis resin fell from £91.80 an ounce to £77, while cocaine prices dropped from £87 a gram to £60.

David Laws, the Liberal Democrat MP who uncovered the figures, said: "The fact that prices have fallen so substantially proves that people must be finding it easier to get drugs into the country.

"The way in which we have drawn up the classification between legal and illegal drugs may have helped to create an incentive for people to cross from legal to illegal drugs. It could force more young people towards drugs, particularly in the more deprived areas."

The only listed drug to have risen in price was herbal cannabis, which increased from £59.30 an ounce to £80.

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