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The Federal Government while trying to protect us from our human nature developed harsh anti-drug policies with the hope of eradicating drugs At the time these policies seemed simple enough we will impose penalties on those who use substances illegally we will intercept drugs coming from other countries while ending all drug cultivation in the States and we will even try to prevent foreign governments from growing these substances The idea of the Drug Prohibition surely made sense lower demand of drugs by law enforcement and reduce supply through domestic and international means Unfortunately the Drug Prohibition led to heavy costs both financially and otherwise while being ineffective if not at times counterproductive Today we can see the unforeseen costs of the Drug Prohibition and we should consider these costs before expanding the War on Drugs First among the costs of the War on Drugs the most obvious is monetary cost The direct cost of purchasing drugs for private use is 100 billion a year The federal government spends at least 10 billion a year on drug enforcement programs and spends many billions more on drug-related crimes and punishment The estimated cost to the United States for the War on Drugs is 200 billion a year or an outstanding 770 per person per year and that figure does not include the money spent by state and local government in this war Evans and Berent eds xvii The second cost of this war is something economist like to call opportunity costs Here we have two resources which are limited prison cells and law enforcement When more drug crimes take up law enforcements time and when more drug criminals take up cells less ability to fight other crime exists This becomes significant when an estimated 35-40 million Americans use drugs per year In 1994 law enforcement arrested some 750000 people on drug charges and of those 750000 600000 were charged merely with possession Sixty percent
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