The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
$30,000,000,000 is the expected price per year to end world hunger as of 2013. For many people, they look at this number as an outstanding price for world hunger. The question posed is, “How much money is $30 billion really?” This new infographic from 12 Keys Rehab examines the economics of drugs.
For the United States of America, if everyone stopped doing drugs for approximately one year and placed all those funds into a charity to stop world hunger, they could successfully stop world hunger for approximately 10 years. That averages to about $300 billion spent annually on drugs directly and indirectly in America.
Drugs are Causing Havoc in America
Drugs, both recreational and non-recreational, are wreaking havoc on America slowly. More than $100 billion is spent on drugs in America annually. Another $200 billion is spent on emergency care visits, incarceration, criminal justice and labor participation from the effects of drugs.
Breakdown of expenses
- $56,373,254,000 – Criminal Justice System
- $49,237,777,000 – Labor Participation
- $48,121,949,000 – Incarceration
- $19,783,981,000 – Premature Mortality Costs
- $5,697,186,000 – Hospital and Emergency Department
- $3,723,338,000 – Specialty Treatment
- $3,547,885,000 – Other Crime Costs
- $2,327,798,000 – Other
- $2,828,207,000 – Specialty Treatment for Services Provided (state)
- $1,455,555,000 – Crime Victim
As seen above, a total of $193,000,000,000 is spent annually on the aftermath of drug abuse.
Closer Look at the Law
A majority of expenses accumulated from drug abuse is directly related to the law, the question being pondered is, “How many people are getting arrested annually?”
While this question cannot be answered by any direct “stat”, using information based on the number of arrests made annually, we can determine the following:
- Every 19 seconds a person is arrested for substance abuse.
- Every 30 seconds a person is arrested for cannabis abuse.
With these two vital statistics being revealed, it might seem like America is winning the war against drugs. However, quite the opposite is true.
While a significant number of arrests are being made annually, the number of arrests is not being lowered annually. In fact, in 2009, more arrests were made for substance abuse than any other type of crime.
What Can Be Done?
Current actions against the war against drugs are currently not working for America. In order to reduce costs and to turn a profit, several forms of action can be taken to ensure the quality of America and win against the war against drugs.
- Legalizing and taxing cannabis. Similar to cigarettes and alcohol consumption, legalizing cannabis can only seek to help America and lowering costs significantly on ‘drug abuse’. While cannabis is slowly being legalized in states for medicinal purposes and laws are becoming less strict, complete legalization could give America $34 billion annually. In addition to this, arrests on ‘substance abuse’ would lower significantly since almost half of the arrests made in America are in response to cannabis possession and use.
- Mandatory rehab and halfway houses for anyone caught in possession on drugs. Whether it is there first offense or third offense, making mandatory rehab for any arrest opposed to incarceration will make it easier for the justice system to handle cases and will impose less costs overall.
The United States has been fighting the war against drugs for more than 25 years and has only a 10-percent success rate of capturing all felons in possession of these drugs. Is a multi-trillion dollar investment really worth a 90-percent fail rate? It is a question that causes a large stir amongst politicians and debates continue to grow over it.
While debates are continuously brewing, narcotics are overtaking America and unless other actions are taken, the continued $300 billion investment in drugs will only be expected to grow.
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The Economics of Drug Abuse
22.5 Million Americans 12 or older are current drug users
8.7% of the population
Heroin .3 million
Inhalants .6 million
Hallucinogens 1 million
Cocaine 1.4 million
Prescription 6.1 million
Marijuana 18.1 million
The Average Price of Drugs Today
Heroin $110 per gram
Hallucinogen Up to $150
Cocaine $45 – $160 per gram
Prescription $5 – $80 per pill
Marijuana $20 per gram
In 2006 alone, Americans Spent:
Heroin $11 billion
Meth $18 billion
Marijuana $34 billion
Cocaine $38 billion
~ $100 billion
Someone is arrested for violating a drug law every 19 seconds
An American is arrest for violating cannabis law every 30 seconds
In 2009, law enforcement made more arrests for drug abuse violations than any other offense
Cost to Economy
Criminal Justice System $56,373,254,000
Premature Mortality Costs $19,783,981,000
Specialty Treatment for Services Provided (state) $2,828,207,000
Crime Victim $1,455,555,000
Other Crime Costs $3,547,885,000
Specialty Treatment $3,723,338,000
Hospital and Emergency Department $5,697,186,000
Labor Participation $49,237,777,000
Total Costs $193,096,930,000
That’s enough to buy every American a brand new iPad every year
It would take 5.2 year to accumulate $1 trillion in expenses
$200 billion costs to economy + $100 billion spent on drugs
$300 billion spent as a result of drugs in the United States each year
Which is enough to…
Give everyone in the United States $950
Give everyone in the world $40
Pay for 3 million student’s entire college tuition
End World Hunger
About the Author
Katie Elizabeth is a freelance writer interested in design, finance, economics, writing and technology.