[Reprinted in full w/o permission from Science that Matters.]
In 1994, the RAND Corporation, a major US military think tank, conducted a massive study (with funding from the Office of National drug Control Policy, the US Army, and the Ford Foundation) to measure the effectiveness of various forms of preventing the use of illegal drugs, particularly cocaine.
They analyzed a variety of popular methods and calculated how much it would cost to use each method to reduce cocaine consumption in the US by 1%. Source-country control — military programs to destroy drug production in countries like Peru, Bolivia, and Colombia — are not just devastating to poor third-world citizens; they’re also the least effective, costing $783 million for a 1% reduction. Interdiction — seizing the drugs at the border — is a much better deal, costing only $366 million. Domestic law enforcement — arresting drug dealers and such — is even better, at $246 million. But all of those are blown completely out of the water by the final option: funding treatment programs for drug addicts would reduce drug use by 1% at a cost of only $34 million.
In other words, for every dollar spent on trying to stop drugs through source-country control, we could get the equivalent of twenty dollars benefit by spending the same money on treatment. This isn’t a bunch of hippy liberals saying this. This is a government think tank, sponsored by the US Army.
[Decriminalization of drugs would cost even less.]
Caren Bohan, August 6, 2007, Bush, Karzai hold strategy talks on Afghanistan : “The struggling, six-year effort to rebuild war-ravaged Afghanistan and defuse the threat from Taliban and alQaeda militants hiding over the border in Pakistan will dominate talks this weekend between U.S. President George W. Bush and Afghan President Hamid Karzai. [...] Karzai is grappling with numerous challenges, including suicide bomb attacks by the Taliban, mounting deaths of civilians killed in the cross-fire of fighting between Western forces and militants, and a booming opium trade. Afghanistan supplies around 92 percent of the world’s opium, and the crop has become a source of cash for the Taliban and a corrupting influence in the government.”
Robert Scheer, May 22, 2001, Bush’s Faustian Deal With the Taliban: “Enslave your girls and women, harbor anti-U.S. terrorists, destroy every vestige of civilization in your homeland, and the Bush administration will embrace you. All that matters is that you line up as an ally in the drug war, the only international cause that this nation still takes seriously. That’s the message sent with the recent gift of $43 million to the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan, the most virulent anti-American violators of human rights in the world today. The gift, announced last Thursday by Secretary of State Colin Powell, in addition to other recent aid, makes the U.S. the main sponsor of the Taliban and rewards that ‘rogue regime’ for declaring that opium growing is against the will of God. So, too, by the Taliban’s estimation, are most human activities, but it’s the ban on drugs that catches this administration’s attention.”
[Articles continue at link. Emphasis added. Apologies to regular AmSam readers who have seen the May 22, 2001 post before. I just don't get tired of reminding the world that George W. Bush was the main sponsor of the Taliban a few months before 9/11.]
A medical marijuana activist in Calgary [Canada] was sentenced Tuesday to four months in jail for trafficking in marijuana, but the judge ruled that corrections officials must make sure he has access to the drug while behind bars.
[Article continues at link. This post dedicated to the memory of Peter McWilliams (1) (2).]