U.S. Drug War: The Numbers

Submitted by Quest-News-Serv... on Sat, 07/18/2009 - 00:14.

 U.S. Drug War: The Numbers
July/August '09 MJ by Celia Perry

Federal anti-drug spending, 1981-2009 (in billions)
Federal anti-drug spending, 1981-2009 (in billions)

Percentage of drug arrests targeting:

Percentage of drug arrests targeting

Share of possession arrests that are for:

Share of possession arrests that are for

Prison inmates getting drug treatment

Prison inmates getting drug treatment

Drug offenders behind bars

Drug offenders behind bars

from Drug War Chronicle, Issue #483, 4/27/07
Preliminary US government data, quietly disclosed by ONDCP, indicate that cocaine's price per pure gram on US streets fell in 2006, while its purity increased. (Increasing purity effectively constitutes an additional price decrease.)
 
These latest estimates, continuing a 25-year trend, suggest that cocaine supplies are stable or even increasing.
 
This is so despite $31 billion spent on drug interdiction and crop control efforts since 1997, including $5.4 billion spent in Colombia -- the source of 90 percent of cocaine in the United States -- since "Plan Colombia" began in 2000.
 
The updated cocaine data fully reverse a short-lived price increase that the White House drug czar's office heralded in late 2005. That rise in prices and decline in purity, which received much media attention at the time, proved to be a less than impressive fluctuation, as skeptics at the time suggested would be the case.
 
The available evidence indicates that cocaine's continued low and falling prices are driven largely by ongoing robust cocaine supply, rather than by a slackening or collapse in demand.
 
The new cocaine price and purity estimates offer further evidence that the continued US emphasis on forced crop eradication, with "Plan Colombia" as its most visible and costly centerpiece, has failed to affect drug supplies at home.
Watch documentary, "Plan Colombia" online at: http://freedocumentaries.org/film.php?id=195
 
Research studies before Plan Colombia
In 1988 the US Defense Department funded a two year study which found that the use of the armed forces to interdict drugs coming into the United States would have minimal or no effect on cocaine traffic and might, in fact, raise the profits of cocaine cartels and manufacturers. The 175-page study, "Sealing the Borders: The Effects of Increased Military Participation in Drug Interdiction," was prepared by seven economists, mathematicians and researchers at the National Defense Research Institute, a branch of the RAND corporation and released in 1988. The study noted that seven previous studies in the past nine years, including ones by the Center for Naval Research and the Office of Technology Assessment, had come to similar conclusions. Interdiction efforts, using current armed forces resources, would have almost no effect on cocaine importation into the United States, the report concluded.
 
 - - -  Critics of Plan Colombia, such as authors Doug Stokes and Francisco Ramirez Cuellar, argue that the main intent of the program is not drug eradication but to fight leftist guerrillas supported by part of the lower rural class in Colombia. They argue that these Colombian peasants are also a target because they are calling for social reform and hindering international plans to exploit Colombia's valuable resources, including oil and other natural resources. More on Plan Columbia at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plan_Colombia

See Opium production graphic below these two reports.
Cocaine Cheaper Than Lager and Wine as Drug Price Falls by Half (England)
12 Feb 2009 Telegraph, UK - The Home Office has admitted that the street price of both cocaine and heroin has fallen by nearly half in the last ten years, making most illegal drugs cheaper than they have ever been. A line of cocaine is now cheaper than a pint of lager or a glass of wine, official figures have disclosed. Article at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/4602051/Cocaine-cheaper-than-lager-and-wine-as-drug-price-falls-by-half.html

Latin American Leaders Say U.S. Drug War a Failure
2-12-09 San Diego Union-Tribune by Stuart Grudgings, Reuters
RIO DE JANEIRO — The war against drugs is failing and the U.S. government should break with "prohibition" policies that have achieved little more than cram its prisons and stoke violence, three former Latin American presidents said on Wednesday.
 
The respected former presidents urged the United States and Latin American governments to move away from jailing drug users to debate the legalization of marijuana and place more emphasis on the treatment of addicts Former Colombian President Cesar Gaviria said there was no meaningful debate over drugs policy in the United States, despite a broad consensus that current policies had failed. "The problem today in the U.S. is that narco-trafficking is a crime and so any politician is fearful of talking about narco-trafficking or talking about policies because they will be called soft," he said.
 
Gaviria has joined with former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso and former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo to try to change the debate on drugs in Latin America, where trafficking gangs have killed tens of thousands of people and weakened democracies through corruption. . .  The presidents' commission released a report calling on governments to refocus policies toward treating users, move toward decriminalizing marijuana, and invest more in education campaigns. It said current policies were rooted in "prejudices, fears and ideological visions" that inhibited debate. . .  Organized crime has flourished around drugs and is now threatening the stability of Mexico, where a spiraling war between rival gangs killed more than 5,700 people last year. Article at: http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stories/2009/feb/12/latin-american-leaders-say-us-drug-war-failure/

You may want to recall the data from this graphic while reading the above reports.
Afghanistan Opium Survey, 2007
Published August 2007
This United Nations yearly document reported that opium production in Afghanistan increased 17% in 2007.
Afghanistan opium poppy cultivation, 1994-2007 (hectares)
Afghanistan opium poppy cultivation 1994-2007b.PNG
Oct. 7, 2001 - U.S. Begins Invasion of Afghanistan

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