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What America's Users Spend on Illegal Drugs, – Technical Report. B. Kilmer. S. Everingham Search for reviews of this book · Cite this Item · Book. By ROBERT PERKINSON JULY 30, While drug purity has increased, street prices over the long term have dropped jumbled survey of “the white trade” and its enemies, Feiling's book (published last year in Britain as. Suggested citation: UNODC, World Drug Report (United Nations. Publication .. tries' ability to provide information on illicit drug supply is significantly.

Yet victory still recedes from view. In , some 20 million Americans had experimented with illegal drugs; by , million had.

While drug purity has increased, street prices over the long term have dropped — precisely the opposite trajectory promised by drug warriors.

Small wonder that a growing number of skeptics, from George Will to George Soros, have called for a serious change of course. Grant was an early quaffer and, of course, Coca-Cola, whose red and white colors, Feiling writes, pay homage to the Peruvian flag.


Crack is pharmacologically identical to powder cocaine, but its smokable rocks produce quicker, more intense highs and harder falls. Attracting legions of users in decaying urban centers, it contributed to property crime, child neglect, homicidal turf battles and, not least, political reaction.

View all New York Times newsletters. This domestic tale of destruction has been well chronicled by journalists, social scientists and addicts-turned-memoirists. But after the revolution, coca capitalists dispersed, chartering new organizations, establishing new labs and supply lines, and demonstrating remarkable adaptability in response to law-enforcement pressure.

Drug of Choice

Production shifted from Peru to Bolivia to Colombia, and is now shifting back to Peru. Snuffed out in one area, cocaine surges in another. Instead, it seeps in in thousands of ingenious disguises. Under former mayor now governor of Antioquia Sergio Fajardo, Medellin did see a significant decline in violence rates for several years — especially homicide statistics — via informal negotiations with the gangs, new mayoral initiatives to reduce gang violence e.

In such neighbourhoods, drug traffickers have found readily accessible pools of new gang members and many potential drug consumers, as well as efficient corridors for smuggling drugs and arms. While no recent statistics are available, anecdotal evidence indicates that the numbers of maras active in Juarez and Mexico more generally appear to have increased steadily to above 25, Figure 2 Municipalities with five or more organized crime-related deaths Guatemala and Honduras are currently targets for both the Sinaloa Cartel and the Zetas.

Criminal organizations, in contrast, do not determine the type of state, although they certainly can deter or inhibit political reform efforts at all levels of a political system from local to national. The United States, for example, has eliminated the Italian mafia model and seen it replaced by fragmented and widely dispersed domestic criminal organizations, many affiliated with immigrant communities.

Europe is characterized by a similar evolution of organized crime groups affiliated with immigrant populations. Japan, in contrast, has coexisted with the Yakuza, a more corporate-style criminal network.

In China, state capitalism coexists with the Chinese triads and other criminal organizations. In Russia, the Putin government, in effect, subordinated and incorporated various elements of the Russian mafia as para-state organizations Bagley, In Mexico, the formerly dominant PRI party developed almost tributary relations with organized crime groups. Mexico is experiencing precisely such a transition. The old institutions — police, courts, prisons, intelligence agencies, parties, elections — no longer work.

Indeed, they are manifestly corrupt and dysfunctional. Nevertheless, in practice, few new institutional mechanisms have arisen to replace them. Moreover, reform efforts can be, and often have been, stymied or derailed entirely by institutional corruption and criminal violence intended to limit or undermine state authority and the rule of law. Rather, they highlight challenges and obstacles along the road to democratization that are frequently overlooked or ignored altogether.

Democratic theorists have only recently begun to seriously examine the problems for democratic transitions that emanate from organized and entrenched criminal networks.

In the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, such neglect of institution reform may well imperil both political stability and democracy itself. Rather than democratic consolidation, the consequence of ignoring organized crime and its corrosive effects may well be institutional decay or democratic de-institutionalization. Countries emerging from internal armed conflicts are significantly more vulnerable, although such conflicts are not the only source of institutional weakness.

Transitions from authoritarian to democratic political systems may also engender such institutional deficits even in the absence of prior prolonged internal conflict.

In practice, the UN-OAS-US unwavering prohibitionist strategy has dominated international discourse on drug control and prevented individual countries from experimenting with alternative approaches or forced them to ignore or defy their UN treaty obligations regarding narcotics control; see Thoumi, ; Global Commission on Drug Policy, Similarly, both the US federal government and the UN opposed the November California ballot initiative that sought and failed to legalize marijuana cultivation and commercialization in that state.

Demand control has routinely been underfunded by Washington while primary emphasis has almost automatically been accorded to expensive, but ultimately ineffective, supply-side control strategies.

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There have been some efforts since undertaken by the Obama administration, and his Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske, to redress this long-standing imbalance in US drug policy, although prevention and treatment remain woefully underfunded. Analysis of the reasons behind the US insistence on supply over demand control strategies lies beyond the scope of this essay.

US insistence on such a policy approach has not only led to overall failure in the war on drugs over the last twenty five years plus, it has been counterproductive for both US and individual Latin American country interests.

The price that Colombia has paid for its role in the war on drugs has been high in both blood and treasure. The price that Mexico is being asked to pay today is as high or higher. The high costs associated with failure have generated a reaction to the US strategy both at home and abroad and produced a new debate over alternatives to American prohibitionist approaches such as harm reduction, decriminalization, and legalization Bagley and Tokatlian, ; Bagley, b; Many Latin American political leaders, however, openly oppose the legalization of marijuana in California and stridently argue against the legalization or decriminalization of harder drugs in the USA and around the globe.

Undeterred, proponents of marijuana legalization in California are likely place another Prop style initiative on the California ballot in November with the hope that a larger turn out among under 30 voters in a presidential year.

First, even if such an initiative is ultimately approved in some American states, there are likely to be US federal government challenges that could delay implementation of any such new state laws for years. Second, legalization of marijuana, if and when it ever occurs, will not address the issues — production, processing, trafficking and distribution — raised by criminal activity, violence and corruption spawned by traffic in harder drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines among other.

Criminal gangs in Mexico and elsewhere in the hemisphere will most likely move away from marijuana to deeper involvement in the still-illegal drugs, organized crime and drug-related violence will continue. But in the short- and medium-run, Latin American and Caribbean countries will have to address their own seriously flawed institutions: Such measures are essential for their own future political stability, democratic consolidation and national security and cannot wait for global decriminalization or legalization to take place at some nebulous point in the future.

Neither the legalization of marijuana nor the decriminalization of harder drugs, when and if they ever take place, will constitute panaceas for the resolution of the problems created by proliferating crime, corruption, and violence throughout the region, for they will not do away with the many other types of organized crime that operate with virtual impunity in Latin America and the Caribbean today.

Note that the 5 million users of cocaine in the US are between the ages of 15and Cocaine users in the 27 European Union countries have, however, more than doubled in the past decade, increasing from 2 million in to 4. UNODC, c: The bulk of South American consumption was concentrated in two countries of the Southern Cone, although there was evidence of rising cocaine use in virtually every country in the hemisphere.

Given its population of nearly million, Brazil had the largest number of users at roughly 1 million.

But use was most intense in Argentina, where an estimated 2. Gootenberg Thoumi These drugs are also called "controlled substances".

Even for simple possession, legal punishment can be quite severe including the death penalty in some countries. Laws vary across countries, and even within them, and have fluctuated widely throughout history. Attempts by government-sponsored drug control policy to interdict drug supply and eliminate drug abuse have been largely unsuccessful. In spite of the huge efforts by the U. Advocates of decriminalization argue that drug prohibition makes drug dealing a lucrative business, leading to much of the associated criminal activity.

Cost[ edit ] Policymakers try to understand the relative costs of drug-related interventions. An appropriate drug policy relies on the assessment of drug-related public expenditure based on a classification system where costs are properly identified.

Labelled drug-related expenditures are defined as the direct planned spending that reflects the voluntary engagement of the state in the field of illicit drugs.

Direct public expenditures explicitly labeled as drug-related can be easily traced back by exhaustively reviewing official accountancy documents such as national budgets and year-end reports. Unlabelled expenditure refers to unplanned spending and is estimated through modeling techniques, based on a top-down budgetary procedure.

For example, to estimate the prison drug-related expenditures in a given country, two elements would be necessary: the overall prison expenditures in the country for a given period, and the attributable proportion of inmates due to drug-related issues.Switch between the Original Pages , where you can read the report as it appeared in print, and Text Pages for the web version, where you can highlight and search the text.

Subscribe to The Economist today. Scott, G. The results from the study found that Lu, and D. It shows Sam, the Drug Dog.

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