Less Booze, More Meth

Christopher Ingraham: “‘Dry counties’ that prohibit alcohol sales seem to have a bigger meth problem than other counties.”

“That’s the thought-provoking conclusion of a new paper by researchers at the University of Louisville. In the state of Kentucky, some counties (‘dry’) prohibit alcohol sales completely. Others allow it only within certain municipalities (‘moist,’) or don’t place restrictions on alcohol sales at all (‘wet’).”

“The Louisville researchers noticed that dry counties had higher rates of meth lab busts, as well as higher rates of meth crimes overall. And the effect is significant: ‘if all counties were to become wet, the total number of meth lab seizures in Kentucky would decline by about 25 percent.'”

“The researchers found that this is more than just a simple correlation: ‘Our results add support to the idea that prohibiting the sale of alcohol flattens the punishment gradient, lowering the relative cost of participating in the market for illegal drugs,’ they conclude.”


  1. Newsflash. Prohibition is a bad idea. In other news, Al Capone and entourage arrive at Palm Springs in his own personal Pullman car. What a character!

      1. Well, that’s the question, isn’t it? Do we want to legalize meth? How far do we go?

        I hate pot, and always will, at least until they come up with an odorless variety. I still favor legalization, because it’s a goddam plant, and some people do benefit from it. But apparently meth isn’t that hard to make (though very very dangerous), so how can we ever effectively ban it? At what point do the consequences of a given substance outweigh the consequences of making it illegal?

        And of course there’s a difference between decriminalizing a given substance, and legalizing it. You could just regulate and tax the hell out of a drug, figuring that’ll put the gangs out of business, and the increased cost will lead to less abuse. But that can give rise to smuggling operations, if the price gets too high.

        There are no solutions to the inherent problems of human nature. There are just better and worse policies to follow. But this I know–any substance taken in excess can destroy human lives. Dionysus can turn into Bacchus at any time.

        1. Poppies are plants. I am in favor of legalizing marajuana (there’s extracted cannabaniods which provide just the medicinal benefit without the high of THC). But being natural shouldn’t be the litmus for what’s legal/not, as it’s certainly not the litmus for what’s safe/healthy.

          Indeed, the question with the general practice of prohibition is how far do we go. I’d say it has to be a case by case basis, based on public safety, effectiveness, etc. I have a moderate (some but not all) approach to this, gun access, and abortions. I think the extreme positions on all of these are too dangerous, if ideologically sound.

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