Some Facts About the War on Drugs

In 2000, federal and state governments will spend more than $40 billion
fighting the drug war, up more than $35 billion since 1980, yet drugs are
cheaper and purer and more available than in 1980.

In 2000, federal and state governments will spend more than $40 billion
fighting the drug war, up more than $35 billion since 1980, yet drugs are
cheaper and purer and more available than in 1980.

Drug law violators are the fastest growing segment of incarcerated
Americans. Of the roughly 2 million people behind bars in the US, nearly 1/4
are drug law violators. The US now incarcerates almost as many people for
breaking a drug law as it incarcerated in 1980 for all offenses, and more
than Western Europe, with a greater population than the US, incarcerates for
all offenses.

By the end of 1999, more than 250,000 cases of HIV/AIDS (more than 1/3 of
all AIDS cases, more than ½ of women and children) were associated either
directly or indirectly with the use of unsterile syringes by injection drug
users. Yet the federal government refuses to lift its ban on funding for
life-saving needle exchange programs.

The White House estimates that 57% of Americans in need of drug treatment
do not receive it. A study by RAND Drug Policy Research Center found that
treatment is 10 times more cost effective than interdiction in reducing
cocaine use in the US, that every dollar invested in substance abuse
treatment saves taxpayers more than $7, and that additional domestic law
enforcement costs 15 times as much as treatment to achieve the same reduction
in drug abuse and related social costs.

African-Americans comprise nearly 2/3 of all drug offenders admitted to
state prisons, though their rates of drug use are roughly equal to whites.
According to a recent Human rights Watch report, black men are admitted to
state prison on drug charges at a rate that is 13.4 times greater than that
of white men – with rates up to 57 times greater in some states.

Under federal law enacted in 1986, it takes 1/100 as much crack cocaine
as powder cocaine to trigger equal mandatory minimum sentences. In 1995,
although American crack users were 52% white and 38% African American, blacks
accounted for 88% of those sentenced for crack offenses and whites just 4.1.

Almost 1.4 million African American males – or 14% of the adult black
male population – are currently disenfranchised as a result of felony
convictions. Black men represent more than 36% of the total disenfranchised
male population in the US.

From 1987 to 1998 state spending on corrections increased by 30%, while
spending on higher education decreased by 18.2%.

State prison budgets are growing twice as fast as spending on public
colleges and universities.

Author:

News Service: NCForum@aol.com

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