The Coastal Post - September 2000

The Drug War by the Numbers

Percentage of international drug shipments needed to be intercepted in order to reduce the trades profitability 75%. Percentage currently being intercepted 30%.

Cost of one kilo of raw opium in Pakistan $90. Sale price in the US $290,000.

Cost of achieving a one percent reduction in drug use via treatment programs $34 million. Cost to do so via programs in drug producing countries $783 million.

Percentage increase in federal spending on drug treatment, 1981-1997 +4.3%. Percentage increase in federal spending on overseas drug programs, 1981-1998 +6.5%.

Percentage increase in drug spending, criminal justice system, 1981-1997 +17.4%. Total cost of incarcerating drug law violators in 1998 $8.6 billion.

US counter-drug aid to Mexico, 1995 $10 million. U.S. counter-drug aid to Mexico, 1997 $78 million.

Acreage sprayed with herbicides each year by the Colombian government 100,000. Number of acres in Colombia dedicated to coca production in 1994 111,000. Number in 1998 195,000.

Percentage of U.S. 12th graders who reported marijuana as easy to obtain in 1985 85.5%. Percentage who did in 1995 89.6%

Sources: Drug War Facts, Common Sense for Drug Policy website (; U.S. Department of State; White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

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