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Which is the worse scourge on society, bad math or bad meth?

Lots of news sites are reporting a record drug bust in Sydney, Australia today. Here's an example of the piece from the AP

Australian police seize drugs worth up to $525M

SYDNEY (AP) — Australian police have seized 558 kilograms (1,230 pounds) of crystal methamphetamine and heroin with a street value of up to 500 million Australian dollars ($525 million) smuggled into the country in a shipment of terracotta pots.

And here's a link to the Australian Federal Police press release: Record ice seizure among half a tonne drug haul. Which shows that the (bogus) $500 million claim is from the police not the press.

That $500 million claim doesn't pass the sniff test. I've never bought either of them but I'm pretty certain that meth and heroin are NOT selling for an average of $1000 per gram on the streets of Sydney.

Surely Australian police wouldn't lie and/or deliberately over-estimate their accomplishment in order to bogusly claim a record-size drug bust.

Either the Australian police are math challenged (and meant to say $50 million) or the dealers in Sydney are diluting their product 10 to 1.

Acutually, I think it's more likely that Australian police (and all the news organizations and reporters that have blindly repeated their bogus claim) can't multiply and divide.

Meth prices from various websites (including the White House (see Table 64)) say the actual street price is a lot closer to $100 per gram than $1000 per gram.

And if you believe the whole premise of the cable TV show "Breaking Bad", meth addicts prefer their drugs to be as pure as possible (hence the slang terms "ice" and "crystal"). Australian meth addicts probably don't watch US cable shows (and probably use different slang) but I suspect even down-under meth heads have figured out they shouldn't waste their money on crystal that's only 10% meth. So it'd be absurd for the Australian fuzz to assume they could pull in $100 per gram for such bad shit. In other words, diluting it to the $1000 per gram level would be counter-productive. Nobody would buy it.

So the only logical conclusion is that the Australian police tripped over a decimal point and are off by a factor of 10 in their calculations.

* Innumeracy defined:


Which is worse

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Comment Preferences

  •  It ignores distribution costs, too. (3+ / 0-)

    The street price includes money that goes to the various middlemen and pushers, who don't work for free.

    It is like saying that since a fancy restaurant in Manhattan charges $100 for a little piece of meat and few pieces of artfully arranged asparagus that farmers in New Jersey must be millionaires.

  •  I refuse to explain why I know this... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but if they're cutting meth it would be 10 percent not-meth.

    Otherwise, it ain't worth buyin'.

    Math, otoh, is important.  Esp. if you are changing a recipe.


    To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

    by Youffraita on Tue Jul 31, 2012 at 07:40:30 PM PDT

  •  at a $million a kilo, who wouldn't risk it? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Capitalism and all that. (snicker)

    Long ago, I met a guy in Peru who bought a kilo of coke. He buried most of it up near Machu Pichu, and was going to smuggle enough "internally" to pay for the trip. I always wondered if he made it back to the US with his cargo intact and what became of the buried most-of-a-kilo. Weird shit, literally.

    This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

    by Karl Rover on Tue Jul 31, 2012 at 08:10:26 PM PDT

  •  Not that difficult to believe, actually. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    That is, if you do some research.

    Crystal meth, based on a report from New Zealand in 2003, was going for up to $1000 a gram. A 2006 report from Australia had it running at $500/gram.

    Moreover, the price of drugs can vary considerably depending on where you are. For instance, consider heroin. Reports on prices have it ranging (in US dollars) from $1300 per gram in Brunei to $200 in the US, to $3 in Pakistan and $1.90 in Kenya.

    So before people feel all superior about someone else doing bad math, mayhaps they should consider the possibility they're working off bad information.

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