Friday, 19th October 2018

Research Articles

UK Drug Price Trends (1994-2008)

Cannabis Prices – The price of the two most common types of cannabis rose significantly in 2008, confirming the increases in 2007 to be the start of a trend rather than a ‘blip’. This increase was seen at all market levels. Soap-bar resin prices, which hit a 20-year low in 2006 have clearly bottomed out, and Skunk prices have risen sharply after a decade of stability.



Cannabis Resin – A price of £10 per eighth is still the going rate for Soap-bar resin, with a range of £5-£15, but more £15 reports than £5 for the first time since 2003. Other varieties (e.g. Asian Black, Flat Press) are typically £15-£20 per eighth, with higher prices still for high-quality ‘Pollen’ and ‘Charas’, and ‘Skuff’ when available.

Herbal Cannabis - An eighth of ‘Skunk’ would now cost between £20 and £25, rather than between £15 and £25 a couple of years ago. Homegrown (whole plant or leaf only) prices, where available, range from ‘free’ to around £20 an eighth (very cheap in bulk), and an eighth of Imported Bush would typically cost £10, £15 or £20 depending on quality and local factors.

Amphetamines – ‘Speed’ prices, after some years of stability, rose significantly at street level in 2007-08 but have remained relatively stable at wholesale level. Street purities appear to have increased slightly. Since we first monitored methamphetamine prices in 2004 these have risen sharply, although there are few 2008 price reports.


Cocaine – The apparent stability of cocaine prices (small drop in 2008) masks a diverging market between high-quality ‘Peruvian’ (50% plus purity at £50-£60 per gram) and low-quality ‘Budget’ cocaine (under 20% purity for £25-£40 per gram).



Crack Cocaine rock prices have fluctuated wildly over the years but are now at a historic low, however prices reflect smaller deals, such that a £20 rock would typically weigh 150-250mg whereas a £10 rock would weight 80-150mg. Purities are at an all time low, gone are the days when a rock of crack would be 80% plus pure. Purities as low as 20% have been found in street samples.

Heroin prices, after increasing between 2003 and 2006, are falling again, a typical £10 bag will contain around 150mg powder with a purity between 20-60%

LSD prices are at a historic high, reflecting very rare availability in the UK, there was a sharp increase at all market levels in 2008 accelerating the increase seen in 2007.


Ecstasy prices continue their downward trend and appear to be bottoming out, with a slight increase at 100 tab level. Contents of individual tablets would typically range from 20-60mg, about half the strength of tablets 10 years ago.

Summary – In 2008, UK average prices of a range of illegal drugs have increased significantly, reversing a trend of consistent falls in price over the past 20 years.