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by Peter Moskos

February 27, 2009

B*tch, stop lying!

Mexican Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora claims that US cocaine prices have increased 100% and purity dropped by 35% since the Mexican crackdown began in 2006.

Really? Let's examine that, shall we?

In April 2007 John Walters (the drug czar) said that cocaine prices had declined 11 percent from February 2005 to October 2006, to about $135 per pure gram of cocaine. Of course he might have been lying. But let's accept that figure as the base point for 2006. $135.

Since then, according to the prohibitionists, the retail price of cocaine has doubled. Plus purity has gone down 35% (adding another 35% to the price or a pure gram). So by logic the retail price of cocaine should be $270 per pure gram of cocaine.

According to shady data from the DEA, the price of cocaine in September 2008 was $183. Not $270, mind you, but that would still be a substantial increase compared to 2006.

But I don't believe the $183 figure. Not just because I'm cynical, but because elsewhere, you see (supposedly using the same STRIDE source for data), the US government lists the price of as $124 per pure gram. Hmmmmmm. Curious.

So which one is it? The 235% percent price increase? The 50% price increase? Or the 5% price decrease? If I were a betting man, I'd guess the latter.

See the DEA keeps two sets of books. One is used to claim the price goes up ($183); the other to use as the low price ($124) so that next year they can say the price went up. Just watch. I've been keeping track.

As far as I can tell, this system of lies became policy in September, 2007. That's when they claimed the price of cocaine in April 2005 was $94. Really? Because if you remember from six paragraphs up (and they're really dependent on you not remembering), the DEA said in April 2007 that cocaine prices had declined 11 percent from February 2005 to October 2006, to about $135 per pure gram of cocaine. Zoinks! We've come full circle.

You've got to admire their chutzpah. They just make things up with a straight face. Do they really think nobody will notice? To believe that we're winning the war on drugs requires a willing suspension of disbelief and a very short memory.

No doubt in 2010 the DEA will claim they've always said the 2008 price of cocaine was $124. You got a problem with that?

In further amazing displays of chuzpah, the DEA says that seizure data "indicate decreased cocaine availability beginning in early 2007. According to Federal-wide Drug Seizure System (FDSS) data, quarterly cocaine seizures by federal agencies have decreased significantly since the first quarter of 2007." So less seizure means we're winning the war drugs? Last time I checked they said that more seizures mean we're winning.

My head hurts.

I suppose when usage rates dip they'll stop talking about price. And when use goes up, they'll talk about seizures. And when that gets old, we'll go back to rising prices.

What's amazing about this game is that the DEA can't come up with any single standard that shows success.

The war on drugs is such a beautiful war because we never stop winning! No wonder they want to keep it going. Who can argue with success?

4 comments:

dave h. said...

The drug warriors and their agencies are more interested in self-preservation than public safety at this point. This is fairly obvious. It is a danger posed by all institutions, particularly when they shun real transparency and accountability.

dave h. said...

"No doubt in 2010 the DEA will claim they've always said the 2008 price of cocaine was $124. You got a problem with that"

Yup. And on a related note:

"And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed—if all records told the same tale—then the lie passed into history and became truth. 'Who controls the past' ran the Party slogan, 'controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.'"
- George Orwell, 1984, Book 1, Chapter 3

cap vandal said...

They just need to put it into the CPI.

PCM said...

And, oh, if you adjust for inflation, the prices quoted would get even smaller as the years go on.

War is Peace; Ignorance is Strength.