Insanity: Four Decades of U.S. Counterdrug Strategy
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
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In the four decades since President Nixon first declared war on drugs the U.S. counterdrug strategy has remained virtually unchanged favoring supply-reduction, law enforcement and criminal sanctions over demand-reduction, treatment and education. While the annual counterdrug budget has ballooned from 100 million to 25 billion, drug availability of most illicit drugs remains at an all-time high. The human cost is staggering nearly 40,000 drug-related deaths in the U.S. annually. The societal impact, in purely economic terms, is now estimated to be approximately 200 billion per year. And the global illicit drug industry now accounts for 1 percent of all commerce on the planet approximately 320 billion annually. Legalization is almost certainly not the answer however, an objective analysis of available data confirms that 1 the U.S. has pursued essentially the same flawed supply-reduction strategy for forty years and 2 simply increasing the amount of money invested each year in this strategy will not make it successful. Faced with impending budget cuts and a future of budget austerity, policymakers must replace the longstanding U.S. counterdrug strategy with a pragmatic, science-based, demand-reduction strategy that offers some prospect of reducing the economic and societal impacts of illicit drugs on American society.
- Sociology and Law