War on Drugs – Too Big to Fail…

I recommend reading Drug War has grown “too big to fail” — Scott Henson’s July 4 post on his blog Grits for Breakfast.

I found the following quite interesting:

  • The National Drug Intelligence Center recently issued a report entitled “The Economic Impact of Illicit Drug Use on American Society.” According to their analysis, illicit drug use cost more than $193 billion in 2007. Of that number, $113 billion was spent on the criminal justice system at all levels of government.
  • In 2010, the State Department estimated that the annual gross revenue of international drug trafficking organizations from the sale of illegal drugs in the United States ranges between $15 billion and $30 billion. It seems that the economic cost of the criminal justice system’s response to illegal drugs is far greater than drug cartel profits.
  • The criminal justice system’s response to illegal drugs – locking up drug users and sellers – is big business in and of itself. The $113 billion number is roughly the same as Bank of America’s 2010 gross revenue ($111 billion according to its annual report). Henson concludes that if Bank of America is “too big to fail,” then so too is the War on Drugs.