Tony Newman at (646)335-5384 or Bill Piper at (202)669-6430
Statement from Bill Piper, Director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance:
When gasoline prices go up politicians understand that it means oil companies are getting rich. I don’t understand why they don’t understand that higher drug prices means that organized crime is making more money. And rising drug prices leads to greater trafficking, not less. As the price of cocaine increases, it becomes more profitable to manufacture and sell cocaine, which means more people will get into the market and more cocaine will be made and sold. This is one reason why supply-side drug policies are self-defeating. Just look at Europe. DEA administrator Karen Tandy was just in Europe a few weeks ago warning authorities that Latin American drug cartels were shipping more and more drugs to Europe because European prices were so high. As drug prices rise in America we can expect drug cartels to ship more and more drugs here too. Instead of continuing to waste money on inefficient supply-side schemes that actually make drug trafficking more profitable, the federal government should shift funding to drug treatment. An estimated 20 percent of cocaine users account for 80 percent of the quantity consumed. Providing treatment to those who need it most could significantly reduce demand and make drug selling less profitable.