Sunday, November 06, 2005

Facts and Figures on Black Market Drugs

Off the AP wire from U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime; Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) and a DEA report.
- 200 million, or 5 percent of the world's population - number of people worldwide aged 15-64 who have used drugs at least once in the last 12 months.

- $13 billion - estimated value of global illicit drug market in 2003 at production level.

- $94 billion - estimated value at the wholesale level.

- $322 billion - estimated value at retail level.
That adds up to $429 billion untaxed dollars in a an unregulated market. Also, because it's illegal, it attracts violence. And it adds another $40 billion onto the law enforcement end. Add to that the social costs of a prohibition policy such as hospital costs for untreated addicts and public assistance to broken families.The amount of money a legal industry could generate might save the social security system.

We wouldn't eliminate all the problems associated with abuse, but we would certainly eliminate most of the violence and property crime associated with it. Legalizing alcohol didn't elimate alcoholism, but when is the last time you heard about a shooting over a beer truck delivery?

Prohibition is simply not the answer. Consider the costs of our Drug Enforcement Agency alone. Look at how it's escalated over 40 years. It's only tangible result being a half a million people in prison on drug charges.
- $65.2 million - 1972 Drug Enforcement Administration budget.

- 2,775 - 1972 number of DEA employees.

- $2.1 billion - 2005 DEA budget.

- 10,894 - 2005 number of DEA employees.

We're paying $2.1 billion to have these bad boys arresting people in hospital beds, harassing doctors and their patients who live with daily pain, not to mention violating foreign sovereignty by chasing down political activists in other countries. Anybody notice that there are less drugs on the streets? Me neither.


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