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.”

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