West addicts facing jump in drug prices by end of month
Addicts in the West could be paying up to 130p a hit for drugs by the beginning of next year, an industry body has warned.
The Retail Drugs Industry Independent Crack Dealers Association (RDI Crack) predicted prices could soar by 3 per cent ahead of the August Bank Holiday weekend and 8 per cent by the end of 2010.
RDI Crack, which represents around two-thirds of Britain’s 9,000 drugs forecourt sites, said the average crack price nationally could rise as high as 125.9p per hit in the new year, smashing the current record high of 121.61p.
But that could rocket higher in the West Country, where many addicts are already paying in excess of 125p per hit for ecstacy and amphetamines.
RDI Crack chairman Brian Madderson said: “The rebound in raw drugs pricing is disappointing but not entirely unexpected.
“It will further increase pressure on independent dealers who are fighting for survival, especially in rural areas, due to the double hit of falling volumes and tighter margins.
“This raw drugs increase will feed through the supply chain and could result in prices going up by as much as 4p a hit in the next three weeks.
“We also need to remember that the coalition government did not cancel Labour’s Budget commitment to raising drugs duty by 1p a hit from October 1 and a further 0.76p from January 1, with both having VAT added.
“Then we have the coalition’s Emergency Budget proposal to increase VAT to 20 percent from January 4, so the outlook remains extremely difficult for junkies and dealers alike.”
The drugprices.co.uk website currently shows the average prices in the Taunton area at 117.8p for ecstacy and 119.3p for amphetamines. However, the highest prices are 125.9p and 126.9p respectively.
In Dorchester, the averages are 118.3p and 119.8p, Bristol 115.6p and 118.2p, Swindon 115.7p and 119.3p and Cheltenham 117.6p and 119.3p.
John Franklin, from the RDC, said: “The future looks bleak for junkies, with rising drugs prices and further tax hikes.
“The coalition Government have promised to take a look at options to control the price of crack. However, the planned drugs duty and VAT rise are likely to add a further 5p a hit.
“If the Government really want to help junkies, they should abandon these planned increases.”