Substance.com has put together an interesting infographic showing how Americans spent money on illegal drugs from 2000 to 2010.
The data comes from a study by the RAND Corporation for the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy that shows Americans are spending a staggering $US100 billion a year on drugs such as cocaine, meth, heroin, and marijuana.
As the graphic shows, marijuana has overtaken all other illegal drugs in recent years:
While marijuana spending has shot up, cocaine spending has decreased dramatically over the past decade.
UCLA professor Mark Kleiman, a leading authority on drug policy, told Vice in January that it’s possible cocaine has simply fallen out of favour with drug users. He explained:
“Drug use tends to follow epidemic cycles. When a drug appears, or reappears, it tends to do so at the top of the social spectrum — it’s associated with glamour. People are using it for the first time, and they’re having a good time. Very few people are in trouble with it because use is relatively new and it has terrific word of mouth. People say, ‘Oh my God, this is wonderful, you have to try this!’ So you literally get an exponential growth in use. Every new user is a potential source of additional new users. You get a very rapid rise in the number of users.
As David Musto pointed out in ‘The American Disease,’ over time, two things happen. Once everybody susceptible to the suggestion of ‘Let’s try this’ has tried it, there’s a declining pool of new users. And, some of the original users have been at it long enough to develop a bad habit. So now there are fewer users to tell all their friends that ‘this is wonderful,’ and more problem users who either tell their friends, or demonstrate by their behaviour, that this is not wonderful.”
Other drugs have gained popularity as cocaine use has decreased. While Heroin spending remained about the same between 2000 and 2010, the RAND report notes that in recent years heroin consumption has increased.
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