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The Federal Government, while trying to protect us from our human nature,
developed harsh anti-drug policies with the hope of eradicating drugs. At
the time, these policies seemed simple enough: we will impose penalties on
those who use substances illegally, we will intercept drugs coming from
other countries while ending all drug cultivation in the States, and we will
even try to prevent foreign governments from growing these substances. The
idea of the Drug Prohibition surely made sense: lower demand of drugs by law
enforcement, and reduce supply through domestic and international means.
Unfortunately, the Drug Prohibition led to heavy costs, both financially and
otherwise, while being ineffective, if not, at times, counterproductive.
Today, we can see the unforeseen costs of the “Drug Prohibition,” and we
should consider these costs before expanding the “War on Drugs.”
First, among the costs of the “War on Drugs,” the most obvious is monetary
cost. The direct cost of purchasing drugs for private use is $100 billion a
year. The federal government spends at least $10 billion a year on drug
enforcement programs and spends many billions more on drug-related crimes
and punishment. The estimated cost to the United States for the “War on
Drugs” is $200 billion a year or an outstanding $770 per person per year,
and that figure does not include the money spent by state and local
government in…