What Will it Cost to "Win?"

Source: 2000 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse
2001 ONDCP National Drug Control Strategy


As these charts clearly show, the American people have received absolutely nothing in return for their drug war dollars. Federal spending on drug war has increased nearly 20 fold from 1981 to 2001. Despite this exponential increase in spending, the average number of people using "illegal" substances every year is remarkably consistent. Worse yet, the ONDCP's own study shows that drug war costs over three times as much as the alleged costs of drug use.

Meanwhile, as we can see in the chart at the upper right, consumer costs have decreased substantially or remained relatively flat. There is no significant change in the number of users, while interdiction and eradication efforts have increased in line with spending.

In terms of the price on the street, drug war has dramatically decreased the prices of both heroin and cocaine, and decreased the price of marijuana as well. Supposedly, increasing the cost of drugs will make them too expensive and thus lower the number of users. Curiously, spending more to fight drugs has only made them cheaper.

Finally, in the two bottom charts, it is clear that drastic increases in funding for the drugwar has had absolutely no impact on regular (past month) and occasional (past year) drug use over the past decade.

truth: the Anti-drugwar Anti-drugwar Arsenal Accept the $1 Challenge