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The Big Answer

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Illegal and Prescription Drug Use

an article by our site

In 2013 the federal government appropriated 25.6 billion dollars to fight the war on drugs. Nearly sixty percent of these dollars were allocated to law enforcement including new jails, more positions in drug-enforcement agencies, and more enforcement equipment.

Forty-one percent of the 25.6 billion provided for education and treatment.

An older news clip on a segment of the television show 20/20 showed William Bennett, the 1989-1991 U.S. "drug Czar," saying "we're beginning to win [the war on drugs]." He went on to note the increases in enforcement and incarceration capabilities, along with international cooperation. Unfortunately, Bennett equates success with the growth of the tools. He did not look at the results of the billions invested. (That's like saying we're beginning to win a conventional war because we've built a lot of weapons and hospitals, and we have a lot of soldiers.)

war on drugs

However, the show went on to state that the worldwide production of opium, marijuana, and cocaine has never been higher, and there are no shortages of drugs on the streets. Those involved in the treatment and education part of the process stated that the war hasn't even started for those seeking treatment. For example, in New Jersey there are 6,800 treatment slots for drug addicts, and there are 150,000 addicts wanting them. There have been only 28,000 new slots added nationwide. So most of those addicts who want help are turned away. (20/20, April 13, 1990) Nationwide, in 2011, of the 23.1 million Americans who need specialized drug abuse treatment only 2.6 million are getting it. (

drug treatment availability

There were 2.3 million hardcore drug users in 1990 in households, and 1.3 million hardcore users in jail. (20/20, April 13, 1990) However, others say even the conventional estimate of 13 million hard-core drug users nationwide is far too low. ( Yet others say in 1993 there were 6 million hard-core drug users nationwide.( Yet others say in 1994 there were 2.7 million hardcore drug users ( Our estimate is 2.85 million since about 25% of the 11.4 million drug users are seen as hard-core.

Total Expenditures on Cocaine, Heroin, Methamphetamine and Marijuana ($ Billions)

hardcore drug users

In 2004, 55% of federal prisoners were held for drug law violations and 21% of state prisoners were held for drug law violations. Additionally, many of the local 700,000 people in local jails are there for drug use too. (

As George Will stated in his September 8, 1989 column: "The drug crisis is not a crisis of Latin American production or of interdiction. It is a crisis of American behavior, of appetites produced by bad attitudes. But political action can change attitudes; it has done so regarding drugs, in segments of society, in this decade. The crucial prerequisite is political leadership prepared to blame Americans first." (Will, George, "Battle over attitudes crucial in drug war," syndicated column, New York Times, September 8, 1989)

Drug User Expenditures 1988-1998 Russell Baker, in his column of the same date, discussed the nonviable option of legalization because of esthetic objections—cigarettes and alcohol when they originally became popular were associated with images of attractive movie stars, the good life, glamour, and prestige—drugs have never enjoyed such an image; in fact, drugs bring forth dark images of overdosed teenagers, grieving parents, rampant crime, and death. Never glamour. Americans, rather than looking carefully at the history of alcohol (for example), and how during prohibition "the public created potentially murderous criminal organizations to supply it (alcohol) whenever it was legally unavailable," like to ignore that this is precisely what the situation is with drugs. Somehow, Americans want to believe that legalization would worsen this current situation of "potentially murderous criminal organizations" if drugs were to be legalized. He goes on to say: "How all this firepower will reduce the apparently insatiable American demand for drugs is unclear. What is clear is the political strategy: talk bang-bang, get reelected." (Baker, Russell, "Viable or not, legalization's not an option," syndicated column, New York Times, September 8, 1989)

Past Month Illicit Drug Use among Persons Aged 12 or Older in 2011

(“Results from the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings”, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES)

illicit drug use 2010 to 2011
(“Results from the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings”, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES)

There were six million regular cocaine users in the U.S.; and between 1980 and 1989 over sixty million people tried or used it. In 2008 there were 1.9 million regular cocaine users in the U.S. (

An incredible number of violent crimes are committed per day by drug addicts
An incredible number of violent crimes are committed per day by drug addicts

In 1985, the frequency of cocaine and crack use was up to 5 percent of the population; and by 1988, the percentage was 10 percent. In 2007 it was down to 2.8%, however, since pot is often replacing it, but we in the U.S. are still consuming half the world's supply. ( In addition, an incredible number of violent crimes are committed per day by drug addicts.

Most inhalants are part of a group of chemicals called volatile organic solvents. They are particularly accessible because they are not illegal substances, and can be found around the house or at the local gasoline station. Solvent abuse often begins at an early age with experimentation, followed by other hallucinogens or opiates. Toluene was frequently abused when glue sniffing was popular in the 1970s. According to a 1995 report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the most serious inhalant abuse occurs among children and teens who " on the streets completely without family ties." Inhalant users inhale vapor or aerosol propellant gases using plastic bags held over the mouth or by breathing from a solvent-soaked rag or an open container. The effects of inhalants range from an alcohol-like intoxication and intense euphoria to vivid hallucinations, depending on the substance and the dosage. (

Americans are spending 40.4 billion dollars a year on illegal drugs (over 17 billion on cocaine alone), according to a CNN-TV report of June 19, 1991. In 1998 it was 60 billion. From 2000 to 2006 it jumped from 83 billion to 100 billion. (

Marijuana use by adolescents in 2012

A U.S. Senate committee will hold a hearing early in the 2013 to ask the Obama Administration how it will handle new Washington and Colorado laws that legalize possession of marijuana, in light of the continued ban on cannabis in the federal Controlled Substances Act. Everyone is asking themselves about what assurances the administration might give to state officials involved in the licensing of marijuana retailers. Will they face federal criminal penalties for carrying out duties assigned to them under state law? Another biggie to ponder: will legalization turn the young into dope crazed zombies, smoking weed openly? No one knows.

Initiative 502, passed by Washington voters, legalizes and puts under state regulation the growing, sale and private use of marijuana by adults over 21. Under federal law, however, pot remains a Schedule 1 law, classified right alongside heroin and LSD. Cocaine and meth are in a lesser category than pot. (

This is a holdover from the rightwing reaction to the pot smoking hippy movement that started in the 60s, since it’s obvious that feds have it backwards.

A 2016 update: People are rejecting the centrally planned in favor of the locally determined, giving the nation-state less reason to exist. Devolution and decentralization are what the future will be about. The U.S. has federal anti-pot laws, yet Colorado and Oregon and Alaska and Washington State and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use.—Feds be damned. It is a clear case of centrally planned bowing to locally determined. Good—we do not need feds poking their noses into our private business, especially when the states can tax pot sales and help out their budget crunches.

Another case of centrally planned bowing to locally determined is the obvious need for devolution. As mentioned, devolution and decentralization are what the future will be about. Currently, politics and government is just a phony clown show. But we can fix it:

US devolved
US devolved

There is a way to get politics and government working again so it is not just a phony clown show of Culture War screaming and prevaricating politicians keeping the gridlock going to please the Oligarchy which wants no political progress or boat-rocking since this involves change which they hate very much since right now they're in the best power position they've ever been in and change translates into less power, since they couldn't have more. To get politics and government working again we must have: Devolution—i.e., the transfer of power from a central government to subnational authorities. If the USA devolved from one to three countries (sort of like the devolution of the USSR), each of the three countries could agree on all the basics and merely debate details. (The three countries are East Liberal-Land, West Liberal-Land, and Bubba-Land, and it fits the voting patterns of red states and blue states, with any liberals in New Mexico and Colorado moving out of Bubba-Land—going to East Liberal-Land or West Liberal-Land—and the bubbas stay behind after which these two states are in Bubba-land too. If Cracker-Land or Redneck-Land is preferred to Bubba-Land, that's fine.) But the oligarchy loves the status quo and the way oligarchy is moving toward Feudalism, so they'll never permit this change. They love the idea of sitting on thrones and being carried around like aristocracy. For more on this, see Bold New World.