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Cocaine, MDMA and ketamine prices soar as Australian dealers seize on demand during pandemic

13 July 2020 | 2:34 pm | Emma Jones

Drug dealers in Australia are turning pandemic-sized lemons into lemonade with price hikes being reported on across the country.

According to a new report from the Sydney Morning Herald published on July 12th, it's become even more expensive to have a night on the nose beers in Australia with a gram now potentially costing around $450 in parts of the country. And, while one might initially think the price hikes are caused by disruption to global supply caused by the virus, it actually has more to do with drug dealers themselves "looking to boost their profits", as SMH reports. For comparison, a gram of cocaine could cost anywhere from $250-$350 pre-pandemic, so it's certainly nothing to... sneeze at.

As per law enforcement intelligence reports obtained by The Sydney Morning Herald, those looking for a bit of nosé around the Byron Bay area can expect to pay the significantly increased price, while reports have also confirmed the prices of MDMA, ketamine, ice and more have also jumped. "[I]ce is fetching up to $250 a gram, marijuana is being sold for $400 an ounce and MDMA is being sold at $170 a gram in its powdered form," the report stated.

In a comment to the SMH, Australian Federal Police Detective Superintendent Todd Hunter said, "In some cases the street level values are almost double for ice and cocaine[.] Their profit margins were quite good and are now going through the roof. We're seeing that through policing and seizures, ongoing operations and intelligence collection right across the country." Of course, there was some disruption in terms of how drugs were getting to the country in the early months of the pandemic, but according to Detective Superintendent Hunter, supply is "mostly back to normal now."

Furthermore, the report also details that while the pandemic might have indeed disrupted where Australians socialise and therefore take drugs, drug use has not decreased according to early indications from Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission's annual Waste Water survey. This might come as a surprise given there were initial reports earlier in the pandemic that sales of "party drugs" were down across the globe, with dealers in Australia telling Vice, “The customers in Melbourne have gone down though. Selling way more Xanax and weed. People have been getting into the downers."

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Words by Emma Jones