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December 2004
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More proof that it doesn’t work

A new study confirms what Radley Balko said in his outstanding Cato article today — the war on drugs isn’t working.

WASHINGTON — After 25 years and $25 billion the United States is further from winning the war on drugs, a study released Tuesday indicates.

The report conducted by the Washington Office on Latin America, a non-governmental organization that has the stated goal of trying to “reorient U.S. drug control policy to the region,” concludes that U.S. policy geared toward “reducing drug abuse and availability in the United States” from a “supply-reduction model does not work.”

The numbers tell the story pretty graphically:

Data compiled by WOLA show that since 1981 the retail price for 2 grams of cocaine went from $544.59 to $106.54 in 2003. Retail heroin prices mirrored the decline in cocaine prices, falling from $1,974.49 to $361.95 during the period.

Walsh noted that “price estimates are manifestations of supply and demand” and thus are the most accurate indicators to “determine what is coming in.”

The number of incarcerated drug offenders rose from 45,272 to 480,519 from 1981 to 2002, and government spending on overseas supply control rose from $373.9 million to $3.6 billion from 1981 to 2004.

Overall, government spending on supply control and the price of cocaine and heroin have had negatively correlated trends, with the price of cocaine decreasing by 32 percent and spending rising by almost 10 percent.

The greatest change occurred in the number of jailed drug offenders, which swelled by 55 percent, serving sentences that are sometimes incommensurate to the crime and could be addressed more cost effectively through drug rehabilitation, the report said.

More at D’Alliance

[Thanks to US Marijuana Party Blog and LastOneSpeaks. Cross posted at The Agitator]

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