War Casualties

Dave Killion — January 7, 2011

The Victoria News reports that some recent deaths may be due to tainted drugs.  What they don’t acknowledge is that if tainted drugs were used, then the deaths are actually due to the war on drugs. From the article –

It’s usually outsiders coming in to make a fast buck because they hear the news (of drug dealers being arrested) to exploit the addicted,” said Karen Dennis, executive director of Victoria AIDS Resource and Community Service Society. She added they may not hesitate to lace their drugs to stretch their sales.”

There are a couple things to take away from that comment.

First of all, observe how government intervention creates unintended and frequently perverse consequences.  In an attempt to protect people from hurting themselves with drugs, arrests of locally established drug dealers creates a market opportunity for other participants to step in with product that increases the chances of people hurting themselves with drugs.

Second, marvel at how market forces regulate vendors and protect consumers, even (especially?) in underground markets.  Drug dealers know that there is no barrier to entry into their business and that they can’t force consumers to purchase from them.  They must therefore strive to maintain their reputations for price, quality, and safety.  Above all, they better not kill their customers.

If only the government was so considerate.


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