|Yes, it still costs over three times as much money to "fight drugs" as the costs of the drug abuse itself. If you were investing money, that would be the equivalent of losing three out of every four of your investment dollars. How long would you continue to do that? Send the money to me instead.|
Source: The Economic Costs of Drug Abuse in the United States,
Office of National Drug Control Policy (Dec 2004)
|Drug War Costs Vs Drug Use Costs (2002 $billions)|
|Cost of Drug War1||Cost of Drug Use|
|Year||Total Cost||Sub-total||% of Total||Sub-total||% of Total|
1 - Cost of Drug War includes the total federal drug war budget.
Of the costs claimed in the ONDCP study, four cost categorization elements alone account for nearly 70% (per year) of the total claimed annual costs of "drug abuse." Those four cost categories are all considered forms of "Lost Productivity":
According to the ONDCP study (p. III-18): "In 2002 there were about 663,000 individuals incarcerated on drug-related offenses: 475,000 for violations of drug laws, and another 190,000 for drug-related property or violent crimes."
Thus, 71.6 percent of this cost is directly attributable solely to the existence of the drug laws themselves, without the involvement of any actual "crimes" having been committed. For 2002, this added up to $28 billion.
This number is still being included in the ONDCP cost estimates, even though the authors of the study themselves stated in the 2001 version that: "changes in the number of individuals using marijuana and cocaine for more than 100 days may not be closely related to drug abuse related illness."
Note: While this explanation was contained in the 2001 version of the ONDCP study, it has been specifically removed from the 2004 study. It remains, however, an entirely invented "cost" even if they fail to admit it.
As the ONDCP study describes it, this cost is based on the idea that some 35 percent of "hard core" addicts who use "expensive drugs" (i.e. cocaine and heroin) resort to drug selling, prostitution, theft and other sorts of crimes to support their habits. The drugs are actually only worth a few dollars per gram, but under a prohibition regime, the costs of such substances are grossly exaggerated beyond their actual market value. Thus, this cost is entirely a result of drug prohibition, and not of drug use itself.
It's been 100 years ... drug prohibition doesn't stop people from using drugs. But trying to stop them is costing us at least 3 times as much as the supposed costs of their behavior. Are we just plain stupid, or completely out of our minds? Or, is it, perhaps, that we have simply been misled about such things?
Worst of all, labeling people as criminals and punishing them for doing things to themselves is a "cost to society" that our Founders likely never could have imagined that we would bear. It isn't about drugs -- if it were, than how do we explain our "tolerance" of alcohol and tobacco? Allowing people to be punished over what they do to themselves is costing us a lot more than just money.
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