To sustain a broad habit of drug use in the United States, you’d have to spend $617.10 each week, or 53.9 percent of the average American weekly income, which is the 38th smallest ratio in the world, according to Bloomberg’s updated Vice Index rankings.
The index tracks the combined retail prices, called a “basket,” of an arbitrary serving size of a variety of drugs, including a pack of cigarettes, a bottle of alcohol, a gram of amphetamine-type stimulants, a gram of cannabis, a gram of cocaine and a gram of opioids, relative to the average weekly paycheck.
With a price hike of over $200, the United States dropped 21 places from their 2016 ranking, the third largest movement behind Lebanon’s 23-place plummet and Iran’s 55-place jump, firmly placing it among the majority of countries whose generic basket costs over a third of the average weekly paycheck.
For the absolutely most affordable drugs, Luxembourg is the destination. It ranks the highest by a significant margin with only 10 percent of the weekly paycheck necessary to be a comprehensive degenerate, which is nearly six percentage points less than second-place Bahamas.
Of the 75 countries included in the list, Russia sits in last — you’d need to spend 190 percent of the average weekly paycheck to sustain a comprehensive drug habit.
The chart also includes the size of a country’s “shadow” economy, which estimates the collective retail prices of all drugs seized by law enforcement. The United States has the largest by a huge margin — over 21-fold compared to Turkey, which boasts the world’s second largest shadow economy on the list.
As the authors note, “the gauge is purely an economic indicator, not a judgment about morality or legality.” Therefore, America’s relatively better drug affordability, immense underground market and competence of law enforcement to identify such a huge illicit operation could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on who you ask.