Hang around the courts for a while, as many journalists do, and you begin to notice some odd patterns.
Consider these snippets from a google search of reports on drugs convictions, for example:
“16.43 grammes of cocaine valued at €1150”
“a kilogram of cocaine worth € 70000”
“962 grammes of cocaine worth €67340”
“932 grammes of cocaine with a street value of €65261”
The price per gram of cocaine in each of the stories above is, respectively, €69.99, €70, €70 and €70.02. That’s a remarkably stable market, spanning four years.
Press reports don’t always carry the exact quantity and valuation of drugs, but the price seems to be increasing over time. Older reports suggest a price of €68/gramme, newer reports indicate €72/gramme.
And some cross-examinations I’ve seen suggest that the garda price remains constant whether the contraband is pure, or heavily diluted.
Why does this matter?
Well, people now face harsher sentences for possessing the same amount of a drug which would have led to a lesser charge a few years ago.
And when Garda statistics are prepared, the value of illegal drugs siezed has gone up, even though the quantity may be unchanged.
Success in the war against drugs!