The price of getting high, stoned and drunk in BC: A comparison of minimum prices for alcohol and other psychoactive substances

dc.contributor.authorStockwell, Tim
dc.contributor.authorVallance, Kate
dc.contributor.authorMartin, Gina
dc.contributor.authorMacdonald, Scott
dc.contributor.authorIvsins, Andrew
dc.contributor.authorChow, Clifton
dc.contributor.authorGreer, Alissa
dc.contributor.authorZhao, Jinhui
dc.contributor.authorDuff, Cameron
dc.contributor.authorLucas, Philippe
dc.contributor.authorMarsh, David
dc.contributor.authorMichelow, Warren
dc.contributor.authorTreno, Andrew
dc.descriptionCARBC Statistical Bulletin #7en_US
dc.description.abstractOverview ••This bulletin compares the price of alcohol in British Columbia with “standard doses” of six widely used illicit drugs. ••Street prices for illicit drugs were estimated by 1606 recreational and street drug users interviewed in Victoria and Vancouver over the past three years ( ••BC government prices were provided by the BC Liquor Distribution Branch for October 2010 ••CARBC surveyed prices in 150 BC private liquor stores between July and October 2010. ••Minimum prices in both government and private liquor stores were lower for some products than official minimum prices. ••Alcohol had the lowest minimum price at 58 cents for a standard drink, though hazardous forms of non-beverage alcohol (antifreeze, rubbing alcohol and mouthwash) were still cheaper. ••Other estimated lowest prices were $1.07 for a small joint of cannabis, $1.25 for half a tablet of ecstasy, $2.57 for 0.075 g of crack, $3.33 for 0.1 g of cocaine, $4.00 for 0.1 g of crystal meth and $8 for 0.1 g of heroin. ••The lowest price for exceeding national low risk drinking guidelines on a single day was $2.32 for a woman (4+ standard drinks) and $2.80 for a man (5+ standard drinks). ••Lowest prices for five “standard doses” of illicit substances were estimated to be: $5.35 for cannabis, $6.25 for ecstasy, $12.85 for crack, $16.67 for cocaine, $20 for crystal meth and $40 for heroin. ••Cannabis had the lowest median price of $1.87 for a small joint (0.25 g) followed by alcohol ($3.25) and ecstasy ($3.75). Alcohol had by far the highest price of $994 per standard drink for one product. ••Alcohol causes more preventable death, injury and illness in British Columbia than do illicit drugs and results in more presentations to treatment agencies. ••Minimum prices for alcoholic drinks in BC are not linked to the cost of living or to the alcohol content of drinks and are considerably lower than in Saskatchewan and Ontario. ••These findings are interpreted as supporting the need for a better cocktail of supply, demand and harm reduction strategies in BC e.g. more targeted alcohol pricing policies, managed alcohol programs, heroin prescription, opioid drug substitution programsen_US
dc.description.sponsorshipThe views expressed here are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of the research funding agencies. This work was supported with grants from the US National Institutes of Health, the BC Mental Health & Addiction Services (an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority), the Canadian Institute for Health Research, Vancouver Island Health Authority, Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health. We would also like to gratefully acknowledge the contribution of funding from the Office of Drugs and Alcohol Research and Surveillance, Health Canada, received via the Provincial Health Services Authority. We are especially indebted to the BC Liquor Distribution Branch for permitting us access to their sales and pricing data. Thanks to the community service agencies for their support and participation in facilitating this research, and to all the participants who have shared their time with us.en_US
dc.publisherCentre for Addictions Research of BCen_US
dc.relation.ispartofseriesCARBC Bulletin 7en_US
dc.subjectminimum pricesen_US
dc.titleThe price of getting high, stoned and drunk in BC: A comparison of minimum prices for alcohol and other psychoactive substancesen_US
dc.typeTechnical Reporten_US


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