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Drug trafficking is a $400 billion per-year industry that represent 8% of the world's trade. 3/4's of all illicit drug shipments would have to be intercepted to reduce the profitability if the narcotics trade. Current efforts intercept 30% of cocaine shipments and 10-15% of heroin shipments, according to the United Nations. Americans spend $46 - $79 billion annually on cocaine and heroin, according to the White House Office of National Drug Policy.

In 1969, the Nixon administration spent $65 million on the drug war. In 1982, the Reagan administration spent $1.65 billion. In 2000, the Clinton administration was estimated to spend over $18 billion.

The drug war's littlest victims -- More than 8 million of America's 75 million children have a parent or parents addicted to drugs or alcohol. Parental drug addiction fuels the foster care system; it feeds the juvenile justice system. It affects welfare caseloads, school performance and child health. And parental addiction is self-perpetuating: Up to 70 percent of the children of addicts become addicted to drugs themselves. A national shift from incarceration to treatment has the potential to save much more than dollars.

Time's up for the War on Drugs -- For decades, we have been prosecuting and imprisoning increasing numbers of people for possessing or selling drugs. No country in the world has as large a percentage behind bars as the US and a major reason is the war on drugs. As drug-related prison population increases, there has been no corresponding decrease in drug use. It has risen and damage caused by our war on drugs is troubling. Our response to drug use is a failure.

Colombia's war on drugs -- This Andean nation of 37 million people is harvesting bumper crops of coca leaves and opium poppies, the raw material for heroin. US officials say Colombia supplies 90% of the cocaine and 2/3rds of the heroin sold in the US. Their drug profits have fueled the mushrooming role of Marxist guerrillas and right-wing paramilitaries of the narcotics trade to a savage civil war that has killed tens of thousands and left the Colombian countryside in anarchy.

Drug Wars -- A report from both sides of the battlefield on the 30 year war on drugs.

As James Alan Fox, dean of the College of Criminal Justice at Northeastern University, notes, these officers have been told that they form the front line in a "war" on crime and a "war" on drugs, that they have been enlisted in special "operations" and drafted for bold new "offensives." "We use all these paramilitary terms," Fox said, "and we have promoted somewhat of a siege mentality among police: The enemy is out there, and there are more of them than we thought." Fox paused, sighed and added, "When you have this sort of mentality, excessive brutality and improper actions are more likely to occur."

Hard time for soft crimes -- 2 million Americans are locked up, most for nonviolent drug offenses. Some Republicans are trying to change that. Salon

"Snitch" - "Snitch" investigates how a shift in the country's anti-drug laws, including federal mandatory minimum sentencing and conspiracy provisions, bred a culture of snitching that is rewarding the guiltiest and punishing the less guilty. PBS

Cops against the Drug War The articles posted here describe the growing disillusionment with the War on Drugs in the law enforcement community, the growing Support for reform, and some of the ways in which the Drug War corrupts police forces and encourages a war mentality that is at odds with a police officer's intended role as an officer of the peace. DRCNet

The Looting Of America -- How over 200 Civil Asset Forfeiture laws enable police to confiscate your home, bank accounts & business without trial. EscapeArtist

Class will tell - Why drug abuse among the rich is a "disease" while among the poor it is a "crime." Salon Robert Downey Jr. and "VIP syndrome" Caregivers cutting corners for a famous client may be just one of the problems bedeviling the respected actor who could be facing hard time. Salon

Statistics show whites often get less severe penalties than blacks and Latinos for the same drug crimes. The Chicago Reporter

Illicit-Drug Use Rates Remain Stable - The 2000 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse shows that illicit-drug use rates remained unchanged, while youth tobacco use declined, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The survey found that while overall rates of current use of illegal drugs remained stable, there was a drop in use among preteens. Join Together Online

Ad Linking Drug Use With Terrorism -- Stirs Controversy

Don't Forget the Hype: Media, Drugs and Public Opinion - The NY Times/CBS news poll records 2 periods during the last decade when public concern about drugs skyrocketed. In spring 1986, when the media "discovered" crack, the percentage of the public identifying "drugs" as "the # 1 problem facing the nation" climbed from 3% to 13% in 3 months. A 2nd shift occurred in 1989, when the number of people who identified drugs as the most serious problem leapt from 23% in June to 65% in September. The statistics during the 1980s indicate no basis for these increases. Annual reports by the University of Michigan on drug usage among US high school and college students show most illegal drug use generally decreasing since the late 1970s. Powder and crack cocaine peaked in 1985 and 1986. When the public became aware of the "drug crisis," the use of all major drugs was declining. Fair

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Years ago, I had an apartment in West Hollywood, and it got robbed, and the cops came in, and they said, "Yeah, it's the kids. They want drug money." So, now when I leave the house, I just leave the drugs out. I just cut out the middle man. Better for me, better for you. Leave the VCR. Leave that. Enjoy the drugs. 'Cause when they do the drugs, they forget why they came. Bill Maher, HBO's Stuff That Struck Me Funny (1995)

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