A National Academy of Sciences committee meets this week to study a large, growing and little-understood black market in drugs. But rather than cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine, the committee members will be discussing tobacco cigarettes.
The global black market in tobacco is estimated to supply 11.6% of the world’s consumption, a startling 650 billion cigarettes a year. And there are two components to this market that have drawn the particular scrutiny of law enforcement: fake cigarettes and tax avoidance.
Insurance coverage for addiction treatment has been expanded more in the past five months than in the preceding five decades. Contrary to the common complaint that nothing is changing in the “war on drugs”, the U.S. has never been closer to providing universal addiction treatment on demand.
The decision by voters in Colorado and Washington state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana has “changed the rules of the game” for the administration of Mexican President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto in the U.S.-backed drug war, according to a report by the Washington Post’s William Booth.
Harold Pollack notes a number of advantages of employer-based health insurance, including the potential for large employers to serve as more reliable (and potentially wiser) purchasing agents than are individuals at sea in the health insurance market. But my experience as an employer makes me intensely dislike this feature of the U.S. health insurance system nonetheless.