America’s Longest War (Pt 2) – The Cost of War
In part 1 of America’s Longest War, we explored the boom of America’s illicit drug trade and events that prompted the announcement of the war on drugs. In part 2, we look at the cost of war.
The cost of waging a war against drugs over the course of 45 years? Definitely not cheap.
Since Nixon’s infamous declaration of the war against drugs, more than $ 1 trillion has been spent (or wasted, depending on who you ask) on minimizing the risk of drug abuse in America. In 2015 alone, the federal government had a $ 26-billion-dollar budget to fight this war while state and local governments spent $ 25 billion on top of that.
That’s a lot of money in anyone’s books – logic would dictate that, with budgets that grow exponentially every year, the government must be winning the war?
In 2013, a study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) concluded that an estimated 24.6 million Americans, aged 12 or older, had used an illicit drug in the past month – this equates to 9.4 percent of the population.
Compare these stats to the same study done in 2002 and you’ll see that drug usage went up by 1.1 percent over the course of 11 years.
As far as budgets go, $ 19 billion was allocated to fight the war on drugs in 2002. Compared to the $ 25.6 billion that was allocated in 2013, this equates to a budget increase of 34.7% over the course of 11 years.
It does not take a genius to realize that these numbers do not quite add up – it would seem that the bigger the budget, the higher the rate of drug usage among the American population.
Why is the government increasing budgets when it is clearly not solving the problem? What is really going on here?
Coming Soon: Part 3 – The Hypocrisy of Democracy
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