Economics of Drug Policy and the Drug War

11. Reported Educational Achievement and Income of Drug Using Versus Non-Using Full-Time Workers

"• Workers with a college education had a lower prevalence of current illicit drug use compared with those without a college education. The prevalence of past month use of illicit drugs was lower among those with higher levels of education than those with less education (college graduate [5.7 percent] vs. less than high school [11.2 percent]) (Figure 2.6 and Table 2.3).
"• The prevalence of current illicit drug use was lower among workers with higher family incomes than among workers with lower family incomes. An estimated 13.2 percent of workers who reported family income that was less than $20,000 had used illicit drugs during the past month. In contrast, 6.0 percent of workers who reported income in the highest category––$75,000 or more––had used illicit drugs during the past month (Figure 2.7 and Table 2.3).
"• Residents of noncore counties had a lower prevalence of current illicit drug use (4.5 to 6.2 percent) compared with residents of micropolitan statistical area (7.1 percent), small metropolitan statistical area (MSA; 8.8 percent), and large MSA (8.3 percent) counties (Table 2.3)."

Larson, S. L., Eyerman, J., Foster, M. S., & Gfroerer, J. C. (2007). Worker Substance Use and Workplace Policies and Programs (DHHS Publication No. SMA 07-4273, Analytic Series A-29). Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies, pp. 12-15.

12. Estimated Value of US Methamphetamine Market

"A more recent study using a demand-side approach estimates that the annual retail value of the U.S. methamphetamine market is between $3 and $8 billion, with a best guess of $5 billion.12 The margin of error is large because the footprint of methamphetamine use does not match the footprint of the data collection system. Methamphetamine use in the United States is concentrated in certain regions, and it is not primarily an urban drug, whereas data collection systems are centered in urban areas. Moreover, because there have been dramatic shifts in methamphetamine consumption and production during the past decade, estimates are highly dependent on the year analyzed. While there are considerable uncertainties, the amphetamine market is clearly smaller than the cocaine and cannabis markets in North America, smaller than the cocaine market in South America, and potentially smaller than markets for other drugs elsewhere in the hemisphere as well. However, data are not available to provide a detailed analysis for all regions."

Organization of American States, "The Drug Problem in the Americas: Studies: Chapter 4: The Economics of Drug Trafficking," 2013, p. 12.

13. Effectiveness of Interdiction Spending

"In 2005, the federal government spent $2.6 billion to disrupt and deter the transport of illicit drugs into the United States. While international efforts to step up drug seizures may affect availability, price and consequences associated with a particular drug (i.e., cocaine or heroin), CASA was unable to find evidence that such strategies have an overall impact on reducing substance abuse and addiction or its costs to government."

National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, "Shoveling Up II: The Impact of Substance Abuse on State Budgets" (New York, NY: CASA, May 2009), p. 58.

14. Official Estimate of What Americans Spend on Drugs, 2010

"• Drug users in the United States spend on the order of $100 billion annually on cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and meth. While this total figure has been stable over the decade, there have been important compositional shifts. In 2000, much more money was spent on cocaine than marijuana; in 2010 the opposite was true.
"• From 2002 to 2010, the amount of marijuana consumed in the United States likely increased by about 40 percent while the amount of cocaine consumed in the United States decreased by about 50 percent. These figures are consistent with supply-side indicators, such as
seizures and production estimates.
"• Heroin consumption remained fairly stable throughout the decade, although there is some evidence of an increase in the later years. Most of the heroin consumed in the United States comes from poppies grown in Colombia and Mexico, but data deficiencies surrounding associated production figures from 2005 to 2010 make comparisons difficult. There was a steady increase in the amount of heroin seized within the United States and at the southwest border from 2007 through 2010.
"• Methamphetamine estimates are subject to the greatest uncertainty because national datasets do not do a good job of capturing its use. Three particular challenges were that the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Program (ADAM-I) was discontinued in 2003, just before meth use was believed to be at its peak (2004–2006); ADAM-II did not start until 2007 (2007–2010) and it covers very few counties with substantial meth use; and the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) changed how it asked about meth use in 2007. While multiple indicators are consistent with an increasing trend in meth consumption over the first half of the decade and a subsequent decline through 2008, there is not comparable agreement as to the level. Further, we suggest that the most defensible position concerning trends from 2008 to 2010 is simply to admit the data are insufficient to provide clear guidance.
"• For all of the drugs, total consumption and expenditures are driven by the minority of heavy users, who consume on 21 or more days each month."

B. Kilmer, S. Everingham, J. Caulkins, G. Midgette, R. Pacula, P. Reuter, R. Burns, B. Han, R. Lundberg, "What America’s Users Spend on Illegal Drugs: 2000-2010," Prepared for:Office of National Drug Control Policy Office of Research and Data Analysis Under HHS contract number: HHSP23320095649WC, Feb. 2014, pp. 3-4.

15. Official Estimate of the Economic Impact of Illicit Drug Use

"In 2007, the cost of illicit drug use totaled more than $193 billion. Direct and indirect costs attributable to illicit drug use are estimated in three principal areas: crime, health, and productivity.
"• Crime includes three components: criminal justice system costs ($56,373,254,000), crime victim costs ($1,455,555,000), and other crime costs ($3,547,885,000). These subtotal $61,376,694,000.
"• Health includes five components: specialty treatment costs ($3,723,338,000), hospital and emergency department costs for nonhomicide cases ($5,684,248,000), hospital and emergency department costs for homicide cases ($12,938,000), insurance administration costs ($544,000), and other health costs ($1,995,164,000). These subtotal $11,416,232,000.
"• Productivity includes seven components: labor participation costs ($49,237,777,000), specialty treatment costs for services provided at the state level ($2,828,207,000), specialty treatment costs for services provided at the federal level ($44,830,000), hospitalization costs ($287,260,000), incarceration costs ($48,121,949,000), premature mortality costs (nonhomicide: $16,005,008,000), and premature mortality costs (homicide: $3,778,973,000). These subtotal $120,304,004.
"Taken together, these costs total $193,096,930,000, with the majority share attributable to lost productivity."

"The Economic Impact of Illicit Drug Use on American Society," National Drug Intelligence Center (Washington, DC: United States Department of Justice, April 2011), p. ix-xi.