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How are drugs' street value calculated?

Man smoking
More Or Less
Monday, 26 May, 2008
BBC Radio 4, 1630 BST

"How are the 'street values' of drugs calculated?" asked Ben Manning from Sydney, Australia.

When we hear a new report about the police seizure of a large quantity of illegal drugs, it usually includes an estimate of the "street value" of the drugs.

Listener Ben Manning has often wondered how the police and the courts know how much drugs cost.

Presenter Tim Harford spoke to Greg Poulter, an expert witness and director of the Drugs Education and Research Unit - and Tim meets a couple of ex-dealers to find out how realistic the official street values are.

Most pubs per head - a final adjudication

Many towns claim to have the most pubs per head in the UK. St Albans, Chesterfield, Weymouth, Witney and Saffron Walden are just a few of the pretenders to the title.

We started a search for the true winner and received dozens of nominations.

Manningtree in Essex with 180 pubs per person was looking like a winner. But then listener Lindy McGuiness wrote to us from Rhayader in Mid Wales.

With 12 pubs between a population of 2075 - 173 people per pub - it has knocked Manningtree of the top spot.

Does stress cause heart disease?

A few weeks ago, at the behest of a listener, presenter Tim Harford went to quiz Professor Sir Michael Marmot, the director of the famous and highly influential Whitehall II study of health in civil servants, about his claim that a demanding job could cause heart problems.

Man holding his head
Stress has long been linked to ill health

The listener who originally asked us to look into this, medical student Paul Matthews, wanted us to keep asking questions.

So we approached statistician Prof Stephen Senn of Glasgow University to examine the evidence.

Not all the studies purporting to show a link between heart disease and stress have been statistically significant.

But a meta-analysis (a study of the studies) does appear to show a statistically significant link.

Prof Senn says he "would guess that the link between stress and ill health is reasonable. This is not quite the same as saying that everything that the social epidemiologists claim about this is well founded."

Prof Kevin McConway of the Open University explained why correlations and plausible explanations of disease can sometimes lead us down the wrong path.

The worst day for the stock market

Forget Friday the 13th, it is this Friday - the 30th May - that you might want note as a day to avoid buying shares on the London Stock Market.

Presenter Tim Harford spoke to Stephen Eckett, author of The UK Stock Market Almanac 2008, to find out about the worst day, week, month and six month period in which to sell shares.

BBC Radio 4's More or Less was broadcast on Monday, 26 May, 2008 at 1630 BST.

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Town has pub for every 173 people
28 May 08 |  Mid Wales
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