The latest Bloomberg Global Vice Index, an annual price tracker of illicit drugs, reveals that Americans pay more for their illegal substances than residents of any other country in the world except for New Zealand (#2) and Australia (#1)—and drugs cost 40 percent more here than they did last year. Luxembourg was the cheapest place to buy illicit drugs, with the Netherlands coming in second.
The index measured the cost in each country of a so-called “basket of vice”—composed of a gram of cocaine, a gram of “amphetamine-type stimulants such as methamphetamine or ecstasy,” a gram of cannabis, and a gram of opioids such as heroin or opium.
The price of this basket increased from last year in over half of the countries in the index, with the US experiencing one of the biggest surges—to $846 for one “basket of vice.”
The index also measured the proportion of an average income that would be needed to maintain a weekly habit. In the US, that came to 70 percent—which actually makes the US one of the 50 most most affordable countries to sustain an illicit drug habit. In New Zealand and Australia, the cost of buying drugs weekly surpasses the average weekly income.
Bloomberg attributes the high cost of illicit drugs in the US in part to new limits on doctors prescribing pharmaceutical opioids. Buying Oxycontin on the street, for example, costs about 10 times as much as getting a prescription for it.