The More America Spends On The Drug War, The Cheaper Drugs Become

This week saw the release of a The War on Drugs and HIV/AIDS, a new report from the Global Commission on Drug Policy.

The report’s core finding is that the war on drugs has resulted in a spread of the HIV pandemic by driving drug users underground, and away from healthcare, and into high risk environments like prison.

Perhaps most damningly, this has all happened without a noticeable affect on the drug trade itself. Illicit opiate production has grown 380% in recent decades, and in the US, drugs have become more cheaper and more potent since the drug war started — despite the rising expenditure by the US government on the drug war.

Here’s how heroin purity and cost has changed during the drugs war (click to expand):

Heroin Prices

Photo: Global Commission on Drug Policy

And how cocaine price has changed during the drugs war (click to expand):

Cocaine Prices

Photo: Global Commission on Drug Policy


Taken together, the studies authors conclude that “overall drug supply (as evidenced by various indicators of increasing production, declining prices and increasing potency) has been largely unimpeded by the multibillion dollar investments that have gone into trying to disrupt supply through costly policing, arrests and interdiction efforts.”

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