Inflation contributes to rise in substance use

Police confiscated drugs.
Police confiscated drugs. Source: PPA

According to a study conducted by the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences (Sisekaitseakadeemia), drug prices have not increased in Estonia over the past five years, and rising inflation is increasing their consumption.

The thesis written by Carmen Tiina at the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences explored the connections between the Estonian market for narcotic substances and inflation, price fluctuations, and market logic.

According to the survey, the substantial rise in wages over the past few years has made drug prices more affordable. A gram of cannabis or amphetamine usually costs €20, while a gram of cocaine costs €150.

Inflation has driven up the prices of other products over the past five years, but the price of drugs has remained essentially unchanged, encouraging their preference over alcohol.

The price level is the result of intense competition between drug suppliers and price erosion on the European "wholesale" market. According to the study, the purity of narcotics sold in Estonia has increased over the past few years, which results in a rise in addiction.

During a recession, a decline in people's purchasing power will not contribute to a decrease in substance use, according to the survey. In contrast, the current economic decline is likely to increase drug use due to the availability and affordability of drugs.

The study concludes that if rapid inflation persists, drugs will become more accessible, making it even harder to regulate their spread.

The data from the Estonian Forensic Science Institute, the National Institute for Health Development, the Estonian Tax and Customs Board (ETCB) and Statistics Estonia, as well as expert interviews were used for this survey.


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Editor: Barbara Oja, Kristina Kersa

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