Stratfor on the Futility of the War on Meth

A new Stratfor primer on the illicit methamphetamine market cites some numbers that illustrate the risk premium associated with prohibition, which delivers big profits to murderous thugs all over the world:

Depending on the price of chemicals used—determined by the quantity of chemicals purchased and the legitimacy of the supplier—the cost of manufacturing 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of meth comes to anywhere between $150 and $4,000....According to the U.S. Department of Justice's National Illicit Drug Prices Mid-Year 2009 report, the wholesale market price for meth is $19,720 per kilogram while its street value is $87,717 per kilogram. Needless to say, this is a huge markup.

Indeed. Based on Stratfor's range of estimates, meth sells for between 20 and 600 times as much as it costs to make, and almost all of that value is added after the drug has been broken down into relatively small quantities—one reason interdiction has little impact on retail price. Stratfor also notes that "since the product can be made anywhere and can be fabricated into a variety of forms, it is very easily transported." Nor is Stratfor sanguine about the prospect of shutting down the market by controlling precursor chemicals such as pseudoephedrine and methylamine:

For meth manufacturers, lawmakers' attempts to stop meth production and regulate the drug's requisite precursor chemicals are at best temporary obstacles. For example, meth manufacturers in the United States have begun mixing methanol and anhydrous ammonia to circumvent regulations on methylamine. These chemicals can be purchased at a variety of locations, such as hardware stores.

Regulatory measures are reactive and have failed to stop manufacturers from finding ways around the law, giving manufacturers a distinct tactical advantage....

As of May 2011 the United States was home to 1.4 million known meth users—certainly a massive market on which criminal manufacturers can capitalize. Due to the drug's popularity and high profit margins, methamphetamine will continue to be manufactured, distributed and used regardless of regulation.

There's the prohibitionist conundrum in a nutshell: Banning a product people want creates the very incentives that ensure the ban will be ineffective.

[Thanks to Victor McDonald for the tip.]

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  • Bingo||

    What amazes me is that amphetamines were perfectly legal and sold OTC up through the 60s. As we all know, prior to the 1960s America was a terrible, morally corrupt place to live just full of zombie addicts.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amphetamine#History

    WTF is the big deal with allowing people to chemically alter their state of mind again?

  • ||

    The bigger a government gets, the more control it wants, and the more things it bans, regulates, and taxes, Bingo, and then that makes it bigger and...vicious cycle time.

    Note that the rate of growth and banning shit is exponential: how much has the government grown, and how many things has it banned/regulated, in the last 10 years, as opposed to the 10 years before that, and so on. LOGARITHMIC SCALE.

  • Bingo||

    You know whats depressing is extrapolating that into predictions for the next 10 years. GOVERNMENT SINGULARITY!

  • ||

    Just look at how much growth there's been in the last few years. No shit, singularity.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Well who the hell do you fools want to control everything? The church?

  • Joe M||

    Exactly, cuz somebody has to control everything, and it sure as hell isn't going to be the individual.

  • Bingo||

    What blows my mind is that tracking literally everything that everyone does is now a matter of engineering, you don't need magical technologies to make it happen anymore.

    And I can guarantee you that the dream of the autonomous car will bring about the nightmare of a GPS tracking unit in every car as well. And that's one of those technologies that's easily going to happen in the next 10 years.

  • Bingo||

    Luckily, as libertarians, we've already adapted to that environment by adopting cynicism and shadenfreude as coping mechanisms. We're well ahead of the general populace!

  • RoboCain||

    I still often feel like Charleston Heston in that movie.

  • db||

    Singularity implies collapse.

  • ||

    Your equasion for the next ten years of government regulations must include new law school graduates for it to be accurate.

  • db||

    Singularity implies collapse.

  • db||

    Duality implies squirrels.

  • ||

    You're missing a 't' in the headline, Mr. Sullum.

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    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

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    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

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  • Mom||

    It's all fun and games until someone loses his teeth.

  • jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj||

    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

  • jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj||

    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

  • jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj||

    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

  • jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj||

    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

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  • Tman||

    There was a big meth bust a few weeks ago and I remember being absolutely stunned at the amount -15 TONS- that was seized. Doing some sloppy math that's around $600 million worth of meth.

    In one bust. That's just insane.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-20.....in-mexico/

  • ||

    free meth + obama money = fewer shit-people

  • jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj||

    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

  • jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj||

    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

  • jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj||

    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

  • jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj||

    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

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    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I just formed the Meth is too Damn High Party. Vote for me this November.

  • jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj||

    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

  • jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj||

    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

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    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

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    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

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    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

  • Dekedin||

    It says a lot about the US, I think, that out of all the synthetic drugs we could have picked, we picked meth, something that increases alertness and focus. Nothing says "the business of America is business" like our rates of cocaine and meth abuse. Makes me feel a little patriotic.

  • jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj||

    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

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    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

  • jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj||

    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

  • jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj||

    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

  • jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj||

    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

  • ||

    "...the cost of manufacturing 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of meth comes to anywhere between $150 and $4,000...."
    "... the wholesale market price for meth is $19,720 per kilogram while its street value is $87,717 per kilogram..."

    Is it time for a windfall profits tax?

  • jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj||

    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

  • ||

    boy I could sure use some right now, a little pick me up to get me through the rest of the day.

    The only downside is the paranoia. I remember looking under the hotel room door, swearing someone was outside, lol

  • jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj||

    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

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    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

  • jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj||

    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

  • jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj||

    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

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    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

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    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

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    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

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    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

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    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

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    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

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    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

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    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

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    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

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    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

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  • Bingo||

    Oh look rectal is back

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    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

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    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

  • jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj||

    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

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    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

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    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

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    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

  • jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj||

    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

  • jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj||

    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

  • jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj||

    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

  • jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj||

    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

  • Arka||

    and we're done here folks.
    last one out blow up the place.

  • jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj||

    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

  • ||

    it is SO frigging easy to make meth. stratfor is spot-on in their analysis. heck, it's not even really the "problem" drug anymore. most of the crime etc. we are seeing associated with addicts is opioid related right now.

    meth is being made a lot by the 'shake n' bake" method not so much the beavis and butthead (lol) bathtub or trunk labs we used to see

    sprackers are going to sprack and thus people will make their meth. period. full stop

    the WOD hasn't done jackshit to stop it. heck, users describe it as a 6 hr long orgasm. that's a pretty strong incentive to use it.

    as far as i am concerned, let em sprack it up. we'd be better off force sterilizing the hardcore addicts and leaving em be.

    btw, do a search warrant in a methhouse and you will ALWAYS find the most disgusting homemade porn you could imagine

  • The Internet||

    btw, do a search warrant in a methhouse and you will ALWAYS find the most disgusting homemade porn you could imagine

    Pictures or it didn't happen.

  • jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj||

    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

  • jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj||

    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

  • jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj||

    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

  • jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj||

    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

  • jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj||

    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

  • jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj||

    Books are a tool of the agricultural city-statists. We need to burn them all and anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.

  • ||

    Are you sure?

  • ||

    The "war on drugs" is SUPPOSED to be futile! Don't you friggin dipshits get that yet? It's not supposed to be won. It's not supposed to be a success. Is it really that hard to wrap your brain around the fact that the WOD is not a well intentioned, but hopeless enterprise. It was contrived by evil people and it is perpetuated by evil people to serve their own interests. Here's another clue, there actually are good guys and bad guys and it does us no good to pretend that the bad guys are good guys, just with differing opinions than us.

  • ||

    "...the WOD is not a well intentioned, but hopeless enterprise. It was contrived by evil people and it is perpetuated by evil people to serve their own interests."

    Yep. I think that sums it up pretty well.

  • ||

    No.

  • The Ghost of St. Paul||

    WTF is the big deal with allowing people to chemically alter their state of mind again?

    Because then they're no longer "themselves" anymore, and who knows how that might end!

  • UCrawford||

    While I agree with the conclusions, are you really running analysis from Stratfor? To paraphrase an earlier criticism of them, they're basically just delivering the same news as you'd find in The Economist a week later. The most positive press I've seen about what they produce came from Wikileaks, and that was only because they were trying to plug the crap they stole from them when they hacked their network.

  • db||

    Green Flash Brewery West Coast IPA, I love you.

  • ||

    So who does that guy think he is fooling??

    www.World-Anon.tk

  • ||

    REASON!!!!!!! are you good with this?

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