• Freja Ilsing Magnussen
Recent developments in the number of cocaine seizures, the number of people admitted to cocaine treatment, and the amount of cocaine found in the wastewater of European cities indicate that the size of the European cocaine market has grown substantially within the past decade. Notably, this growth has been accompanied by a dramatic decrease in the price of cocaine when the price is measured in price per pure gramme. Previous research indicates that cocaine consumption is sensitive to changes in cocaine prices. Therefore, I investigate whether the observed drop in the purity adjusted price of cocaine has influenced aggregate cocaine consumption in 15 European countries during the 14-year-period, 2007-2020.
To conduct my investigation, I use aggregated price, purity, and prevalence data available from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), as well as aggregat-ed prevalence data available from the European School Survey on Alcohol and Other Drugs. I use Amelia multiple imputation and OLS regressions with country- and year-level fixed effects and ad-just for key covariates including data on the sociodemographic make-up of the investigated 15 Euro-pean countries. Additionally, I include data on cocaine seizures as a proxy for cocaine availability, as well as reports of cocaine related offences as a proxy for risk of capture, to investigate whether a potential link between price and consumption has alternative explanations.
Applying these methods, I find no significant evidence of a link between the observed de-crease in cocaine prices and aggregated prevalence levels in 15 investigated European countries, regardless of whether the prevalence is measured in past-year- and past-month-prevalence among 15-64-years-olds, or in lifetime-prevalence among 15-16-years-old students. Similarly, the analysis fails to find significant correlations between prevalence levels and any of the included covariates.
These results suggest that cocaine consumption is insensitive to price in the 15 investigated countries, and that such insensitiveness is prevalent both in the population in general and among 15-16-year-old school students specifically.
However, the cross-national study of the relationship between cocaine prices and consump-tion in Europe might be greatly limited by the quality of the available European data. Therefore, a key finding of this thesis is that future research would benefit significantly from improvements in the available data, including a systematizations of data collection across countries and time.
Publication date2023
ID: 533212246