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					                                                                                           TheWaronDrugs:
                                                                                           Creatingcrime,
                                                                                           enrichingcriminals
                                                                                           Theglobalwarondrugshasbeenfoughtforover50years,
                                                                                           toachieveitsstatedgoalofa“drug-freeworld”�Yetdespite
                                                                                           theeverincreasingresourcesspentonpoliceandmilitary
                                                                                           effortstosuppresstheillicitdrugtrade,supplyhasmore
                                                                                           thankeptpacewithrisingglobaldemand�Indeed,most
                                                                                           indicatorssuggestdrugsarecheaperandmoreavailable
                                                                                           thaneverbefore�

                                                                                           Butbeyondthisstrikingfailure,thedrugwar’spunitive,
                                                                                           enforcement-basedapproachhashadaseriesofdisastrous
                                                                                           “unintendedconsequences”,asidentifiedbytheExecutive
                                                                                           DirectoroftheUnitedNationsOfficeonDrugsandCrime(1)
                                                                                           (UNODC),theveryUNagencythatoverseestheglobaldrug
                                                                                           controlsystem�Henotedthat:
      Contents
      Introduction ��������������������������������� 2     “The first unintended consequence [of the drug control
                                                                                             system] is a huge criminal black market that now thrives
         • Theeconomicdynamicsofillegaldrugmarkets
            andcriminality��������������������������� 3         in order to get prohibited substances from producers
         • Makingabadproblemworse��������������� 4                      to consumers. Whether driven by a ‘supply push’ or
      Thecrimecostsofthewarondrugs:                                                  a ‘demand pull,’ the financial incentives to enter this
      1�Streetcrime������������������������������ 4     market are enormous. There is no shortage of criminals
      2�Criminalisationofuse ��������������������� 4
                                                                                             competing to claw out a share of a market in which
      3�Massincarceration������������������������ 5
                                                                                             hundred fold increases in price from production to retail
      4�Organisedcrime�������������������������� 6
                                                                                             are not uncommon.”
                            �
         • Moneylaundering ������������������������ 6
         • Corruption������������������������������� 7
                                                                                           Thisbriefingsummarisesthecrime-relatedcostsstemming
         5�Violentcrime����������������������������� 7
                                                                                           fromthewarondrugs,whichinclude:
         6�Crimesperpetratedbygovernments/states���� 9
         7�Economiccostsofdrugwar-relatedcrimeand
                                                                                             • Organisedcrimearisingfromtheillicitdrugtrade,
                         �
      enforcement ���������������������������� 10
                                                                                               anditsknock-oneffectsintermsofmoneylaundering,
      Aretherebenefits?��������������������������� 10
                                                                                               corruptionandviolence
      Conclusions��������������������������������� 12




www.countthecosts.org
                                                                                                                                                        1
“ Politicians cannot hope to win a war on drugs when their policies ensure that only the
   most efficient trafficking networks survive. Not only do they survive, but they thrive
   because law enforcement has destroyed the competition for them by picking off the unfit
   traffickers and letting the most evolved ones take over the lucrative trafficking space.
   The destruction of the Medellin and Cali cartels, for instance, only created a vacuum for
   hundreds of smaller (and more efficient) operations. Now the police cannot even count the
   number of smaller cartels that have taken over – much less try to infiltrate and disrupt
   them.   ”
                                                                                                                         Sanho Tree
                                                               DirectoroftheDrugPolicyProjectattheInstituteforPolicyStudies
                                                                                                                                  2007




  • Street-levelcrimecommittedbydruggangsandby              medicaluse,therhetoriconnon-medicaluseframesitasa
    dependentdrugusersattemptingtosupporttheirhabits          threattothe“health and welfare of mankind”,anda“serious
                                                                     evil”whichtheglobalcommunitymust“combat”,settingthe
  • Thecriminalisationofusers,excessivelevelsof
                                                                     toneforthedrugwarthathasfollowed�
    incarceration,andcrimescommittedbygovernments
    underthebannerofthedrugwar                                 TheConvention’sparallelfunctionshavealsoledtoparallel
                                                                     markets–oneformedicaldrugscontrolledandregulated
  • Theeconomiccostsofdrugwar-relatedcrime,andthe
                                                                     bythestateandUNinstitutions,theotherfornon-medical
    criminaljusticeresponsetoit
                                                                     drugscontrolledbyorganisedcriminals,insurgents,

ThereisoverlapwithotherareasoftheCounttheCosts            separatistsandparamilitaries�Thereisastriking

initiative–humanrights(includingadetaileddiscussion          comparisontobemadeinthelevelofcriminalityassociated

ofprisonissues),securityanddevelopment,discrimination         withproductionandsupplyintheseparalleltrades�The

andstigma,publichealth,theenvironmentandeconomics�           legalmedicalopiatemarket,forexample,accountsfor

Forbriefingsandmoreresourcesonthesecosts,see               aroundhalfofglobalopiumproduction(3)butentailsnone

www�countthecosts�org�                                              oftheorganisedcrime,violenceandconflictassociatedwith
                                                                     itsillicittwin�
CounttheCostsisacollaborativeprojectbetweennumerous
organisationsfromacrosstheglobethat,whilepossessing          Bythemid-80stheemphasisandrhetoricofinternational

diverseviewpointsandexpertise,allshareadesiretoassess      drugpolicyhadshifted,fromitsearlierfocusondruguse,

theunintendedcostsofthewarondrugs,andexplore               towardsthegrowingconcernwiththeproblemsrelating

alternativesthatmightdeliverbetteroutcomes�                     tocriminallycontrolleddrugmarkets�(4)Thistrendwas
                                                                     reflectedinlaw,specificallythethirdoftheUNdrug
Introduction                                                         conventions,whichfocusesontacklingtheexplosionofthe

The1961UNSingleConventiononNarcoticDrugs(2)–the            “illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances”

legalbasisoftheglobalwarondrugs–hastwoparallel           sincethe1961SingleConvention�

functions�Alongsideestablishingaglobalprohibitionof
                                                                     Overthelast50years,thethreattopublichealthfromdrug
somedrugsfornon-medicaluse,italsostrictlyregulates
                                                                     usehasbeeninterwovenwiththethreattopublicsafety
manyofthesamedrugsforscientificandmedicaluse�
                                                                     (andnationalsecurity)fromdrugwar-relatedcrime�“Drugs
InstarkcontrasttotheConvention’slanguagedescribing
                                                                     andcrime”havebecomefusedtogetherinpoliticalrhetoric
                                                                            Thispriceincreasereflectsbothenforcementrisksbeing
                                                                            incorporatedintoillicitdrugpricing,andfromunregulated
                                                                            profiteering(see Figure 1)�Thisisthe“alchemyof
                                                                            prohibition”(5)bywhichlow-valueagriculturalproducts
                                                                            becomeliterallyworthmorethantheirweightingold�




                                                                              
                                                                              Druglawenforcershighlightthe
                                                                              futilityofdruglawenforcement
                                                                              “I invite you all to imagine that this year, all drugs
                                                                              produced and trafficked around the world, were seized:
                                                                              the dream of law enforcement agencies. Well, when we
                                                                              wake up having had this dream, we would realize that
                                                                              the same amount of drugs – hundreds of tons of heroin,
  Figure1:Howthepriceofdrugsisinflatedthroughtheillicitmarket
                                                                              cocaine and cannabis – would be produced again next
                                                                              year. In other words, this first dream shows that, while

(the“drugthreat”),institutionsliketheUNOfficeonDrugs                law enforcement is necessary for drug control, it is not

andCrime,alongwithdomesticpolicyandlaw�Thishasled                  sufficient. New supply would keep coming on stream,

toananomalousandmalfunctioningsysteminwhichdrug                      year after year.”(6)

useisacknowledgedasprimarilyapublichealthissuebut                   Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the

responsesarecriminaljustice-based,primarilydealtwith                   UNODC, 2007

bypoliceandmilitaryenforcementaimedatdrugusers,
                                                                              “If demand [for drugs] persists, it’s going to find ways to
dealersandproducers�
                                                                              get what it wants. And if it isn’t from Colombia it’s going

Ironically,astheUNODChasbelatedlyacknowledged,                         to be from someplace else.”(7)

itisthesesamepunitivedrugenforcementpoliciesthat                     Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defense, 2001

arecreating,orfuelling,muchofthedrugmarket-related
                                                                              “As long as there is a demand for drugs in this country,
criminalityinthefirstplace�
                                                                              some crook is gonna figure out how to get ’em here...”(8)

The economic dynamics of illegal drug markets and                             George W Bush, US president, 2002

criminality
                                                                              “Over the past 10-15 years, despite interventions at

Thelinksbetweendrugsandcrimearecomplex�However,                      every point in the supply chain, cocaine and heroin

thereisaneconomicdynamicatplaywhichactivelyfuels                    consumption have been rising, prices falling and drugs

thecriminalitythatenforcementissupposedtoeliminate�                   have continued to reach users. Government interventions
                                                                              against the drug business are a cost of doing business,
Thesqueezingofsupplyinademand-ledmarkethas
                                                                              rather than a substantive threat to the industry’s
twokey“criminogenic”effects,resultingmainlyfrom
                                                                              viability.”(9)
enforcementincreasingprice�Thefirstisthecreationof
                                                                              UK Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit Drugs Report 2003
avastopportunityforcriminalentrepreneurs(see “How
much is the illegal drug trade worth?”,p�6)�Thesecondis
acquisitivecrimecommittedbylow-incomedependentdrug
userstosupporttheirhabits�




                                                                                                                                           3
Making a bad problem worse                                             • AccordingtotheUSDepartmentofJustice,900,000
                                                                         criminallyactivegangmembers–athirdofthem
DruglawenforcementcanalsohaveaDarwinian“survival                juveniles(12)–in20,000streetgangs,inover2,500cities,
ofthefittest”effect�Theleastcompetentcriminalsarenot           dominatetheUSdrugstrade(13)
onlycaughtmoreoftenbylawenforcement(especially                 • Low-incomedependentdruguserscommitlarge
whendrivenbyarresttargets),butarealsomorelikelyto             volumesofpropertycrimetofundtheirhabits�Astudy
besuccessfullyconvicted,leavingthemarkettothemost               bytheUKPrimeMinister’sStrategyUnitin2003stated
powerful,efficientandruthless�                                       thatdrugusersareresponsiblefor56%ofallcrimes,
                                                                         including:“85% of shoplifting, 70-80% of burglaries,
Whilstenforcementcanshowseeminglyimpressiveresults
                                                                         [and] 54% of robberies�”(14)
intermsofarrestsandseizures,impactsonthemarket
                                                                       • Low-incomedependentusers(mostlywomen)also
areinevitablymarginal,localisedandtemporary�Indeed,
                                                                         oftenresorttostreetsexworktobuydrugs�TheUK
astheUNODCacknowledges,oneoftheunintended
                                                                         HomeOfficeestimatedthat80-95%ofstreetsexworkis
consequencesofthewarondrugsistheso-called“balloon
                                                                         drug-motivated�StudiesfromAsia,RussiaandUkraine
effect”,wherebyratherthaneliminatingcriminalactivity,
                                                                         showinjectingdrugusersaremorelikelythanother
enforcementjustmovesitsomewhereelse�When
                                                                         sexworkerstoengageinstreetsoliciting�(15)Drugusing
enforcementdoestakeoutcriminals,italsocreatesa
                                                                         streetsexworkersalsofaceincreasedriskofarrest,and
vacuum,andevenmoreviolence,asrivalgangsfightfor
                                                                         ofviolencefromclients,pimpsandpolice(16)
control�


TheCrimeCostsofthe
                                                                     Bycontrast,theseproblemsarevirtuallyabsentfromlegal
                                                                     alcoholandtobaccomarkets,underliningthattheystem

WaronDrugs                                                         fromthecurrentlawenforcement-basedapproachrather
                                                                     thandruguseperse�
1�Streetcrime
                                                                     Whilstthereis,ofcourse,criminalityinvolvedinalcohol
Thereisdebateoverhowmuchdrug-relatedstreetcrime
                                                                     andtobaccosmuggling(andasmallerproportionof
resultsfromdrugpolicyandlaws,asopposedtodruguse
                                                                     counterfeiting),andalsostreetcrimeassociatedwithalcohol
andintoxication,ortowhatextentinvolvementincrime
                                                                     intoxication,therearefewifanyoftheproblemsofstreet
leadstodruguse,ratherthantheotherwayround�(10)There
                                                                     dealing(licensedsalesnegatingtheneed),violencebetween
arealsomanyculturalandeconomicfactorsthatimpacton
                                                                     rivalretailers(brewers,publandlordsandtobacconists
bothstreetcrimeanddruguse,includinginequalityand
                                                                     donotattackeachother),orfundraisingcrimecommitted
deprivation�
                                                                     bydependentusers(alcoholortobaccodependencecan

However,whileestimatesarehardtoformulateandoften            bemaintainedatafractionofthepriceofheroinorcrack-

contentious,(11)itisclearthatasignificantproportionofthe   cocainedependence)�

streetcrimeandsexworkblightingurbanenvironments
                                                                     2�Criminalisingusers
hasitsrootsinthewarondrugs�Theseproblemsresult
fromthecriminallycontrolledsupplyanddramatically              Despiteitsaimofreducingoreliminatingillegaldruguse

inflatedpricesthedrugwarhascreated�                            entirely,globalusagehasrisendramaticallysincethewar
                                                                     ondrugsstarted�Asaresult,thecurrentapproachhas
FromMexicotoLondon,druggangactivity,especially
                                                                     criminalisedvastnumbersofotherwiselaw-abidingpeople�
“turfwars”overterritoryandmarkets,isamajorsource
                                                                     TheUNODCestimates,conservatively,thatbetween155and
ofviolence,intimidationandotherantisocialandcriminal
                                                                     250millionpeopleworldwide,or3�5%to5�7%of15-64-year-
behaviour,withvulnerableyoungpeopleinparticularbeing
                                                                     olds,usedillicitsubstancesatleastonceinthelastyear�
drawnintosuchpatternsofoffending�
                                                                     Globallifetimeusagefiguresprobablyapproachonebillion�
  Currentdrugpolicieshaveledtospirallingprisonpopulations(Photocredit:CaliforniaDepartmentofCorrectionsandRehabilitation)




Whilethedecriminalisationofdrugsissometimesportrayed                    3�Massincarceration
asalibertarianapproach,infactdruglawscriminalising
possessionforpersonaluseareatoddswiththelawin                        Thecriminaljustice-ledapproachtodrugshasfuelleda

mostcountriesasitappliestocomparablepersonalchoices                    hugeexpansionofprisonpopulationsoverthelast50years�

regardingsovereigntyoverone’sbodyandfreedoms                             Whilesignificantnumbersareincarceratedforpossession/

regardingindividualrisk-takingdecisions�Theseinclude                      usealone,farmoreareimprisonedfor“drug-related”

freedomoverwhatweeat,whatmedicineswetakeand                           offending,overloadingthecriminaljusticesystemsof

howweconsumelegaldrugssuchasalcoholandtobacco,                        countriesallovertheglobe�

throughtooursexualhabits,involvementwithdangerous
                                                                                Thesearemainlylowlevelplayersintheillicittrade,and
sportsorotherpotentiallyhigh-riskconsensualactivities�
                                                                                low-incomedependentusersoffendingtosupporttheiruse

  • Theimpactofcriminalisationandenforcementvaries,                     asdescribedabove�Therehasalsobeenagrowinguseof

     withsanctionsagainstdrugusersrangingfromformal                     arbitrarydetentionmasqueradingas“drugtreatment”in

     orinformalwarnings,finesandtreatmentreferrals                       centresthatareoftennomorethanprisons,aswellasthe

     (oftenmandatory),tolengthyprisonsentencesand                        useoflengthypre-trialdetentionfordrugoffenders�

     punishmentbeatings�Withinpopulationsimpactsalso
                                                                                   • In2008,overhalfofUSfederalinmateswerein
     vary,butareconcentratedonyoungpeople,certain
                                                                                     prisonasaresultofadrugcharge(19)–asignificant
     ethnicandotherminorities,sociallyandeconomically
                                                                                     contributingfactortothestatisticthatonein100
     deprivedcommunities,andproblematicusers
                                                                                     Americansiscurrentlyincarcerated(20)
  • Punishmentsforpossession/useareoftengrossly
                                                                                   • In2005,Chinahadapproximately700mandatorydrug
     disproportionate,violatingakeytenetofinternational
                                                                                     detoxificationcentresand165“re-educationthrough
     law�InUkrainethepossessionofminimalamountsof
                                                                                     labour”centres,housingatotalofmorethan350,000
     drugs(from0�005g)canleadtothreeyearsin
                                                                                     drugusers(21)
     prison�(17)InRussia,solutiontracesinausedneedlecan
     leadtooneandahalfyearsinprison�InGeorgia,drug
     urinetestscanleadtoimprisonment(18)




                                                                                                                                                5
4�OrganisedCrime                                                  
                                                                    Howmuchistheillegaldrugtrade
Themarketcreatedbythecollisionofprohibitionandhigh
                                                                    worth?
demandhasbeenseizedbyorganisedcrimewithruthless
efficiency,andatdevastatingcost�The“vast”illicittrade,     TheUNODChasmadeseveralattemptstovaluethe

astheUNODCdescribesit(seebox),isoneofthebiggest         globaldrugmarket�Its2005WorldDrugsReport,

revenuegeneratorsfororganisedcrime                            forinstance,putsthemarket’svalueatUS$13bnat

worldwide�(22)Ithasspawnedarangeofothercriminal            productionlevel,$94bnatwholesalelevel(comparable

activities,includinginternationalmoneylaunderingand           withtheglobaltextilestrade)andUS$332bnatretail

widespreadcorruption�Theuntaxedprofitsarealsooften          level�Furthermore,ina2011reporttheagencystated

reinvestedinexpandingcriminaloperationsinotherareas         thattheillicitdrugtradeisthemostprofitablecriminal

suchasextortion,kidnappingandrobbery�                         sector,accountingforonefifthoftheestimated
                                                                    US$1�5tngeneratedbyalltheworld’scrime�(26)
Money laundering
                                                                    Thereportfocusedonthemarketforcocaine,probably
Moneylaunderingofteninvolvescomplextechniques
                                                                    themostlucrativeillicitdrugfortransnationalcriminal
for“cleaning”the“dirty”profitsofillegalactivitiesso
                                                                    groups�Traffickers’grossprofitsfromthecocainetrade
astodisguisetheirillicitorigin�Thegeneraltechniques
                                                                    stoodataround$84billionin2009�Noestimatesare
usedincludeplacingthemoneyinthefinancialsystem,
                                                                    availableofnetcriminaldrugprofitsglobally�
reinvestment,andmovementbetweenjurisdictions�(23)More
specifically,thiscaninvolveinternetgambling,international    The2007WorldDrugsReportputthesesumsinto

moneytransferservices,bureauxdechange,transnational          perspective,notingthatthevalueofglobalhuman

preciousmetalmarkets,realestatemarkets,andhighcash         traffickingwasestimatedbytheInternationalLabour

turnoverbusinessessuchaspizzeriasandcasinos�Shell           OrganizationtobeUS$32billion,whiletheSmallArms

banks,frontcompaniesandtaxhavensarealsoused�               Surveyestimatedthevalueoftheillicitfirearmstrade
                                                                    tobearoundUS$1billion�(27)
The(oftenunknowing)involvementoflegitimatebusinesses
andfinancialservicesintheseprocesseshasblurredthe
boundariesbetweencriminalandlegitimateeconomies,              • TheInternationalMonetaryFund(IMF)estimates
andbringswithitarangeofsocialandeconomiccosts–not        thattotalmoneylaunderingrepresents2-5%ofglobal
leastincreasingcriminalityinmainstreamlife�                     GDP�A2001estimateputtotaldrugprofitssuccessfully
                                                                      launderedeachyearat$200billion(28)
Asaresultoftheintimaterelationshipbetweendrugprofits
                                                                    • AccordingtoaUSSenateestimatein2011,(29)Mexican
andthemoneylaunderingindustry,the1988UNConvention
                                                                      andColombiandrugtraffickingorganisationsgenerate,
AgainstIllicitTrafficinNarcoticDrugsandPsychotropic
                                                                      removeandlaunder$18billionand$39billionayear
Substances(24)wasthefirstmultilateralagreementtoinclude
                                                                      respectivelyinwholesaledistributionproceeds
measuresagainstmoneylaundering�
                                                                    • TheExecutiveDirectoroftheUNODCsaidhehadseen

Estimatesofthevalueofmoneylaunderedvary,because              evidencethattheproceedsoforganisedcrimewere“the

theseactivitiesarecomplexandclandestine,andthe                only liquid investment capital”availabletosomebanks

proceedsofdifferentcriminalventuresareoften                   in2008�Hesaidthatamajorityofthebillionsindrug

intermingled�   (25)
                       However,availableestimatesdoindicate     profitswereabsorbedintotheeconomicsystem,and

thevastscaleoftheoperations,withdrugprofitsprobably         thatasaresult:“Inter-bank loans were funded by money

secondonlytofraudasasourceofmoneylaunderingcash�           that originated from the drugs trade and other illegal
                                                                      activities ... There were signs that some banks were
                                                                      rescued that way.”(30)
Corruption                                                           • TransparencyInternationalhasreportedthat:“Mexico’s
                                                                        police and armed services are known to be contaminated
Corruptioninevitablyflowsfromthehugefinancial
                                                                        by multimillion dollar bribes from the transnational
resourcesatthedisposalofhigh-levelplayersintheillicit
                                                                        narco-trafficking business. Though the problem is not as
drugtrade�Theirwealthenablesthemtosecureandexpand
                                                                        pervasive in the military as it is in the police, it is widely
theirbusinessintereststhroughpayingofficialsatalllevels
                                                                        considered to have attained the status of a national
ofpolice,thejudiciaryandpolitics�Thepotencyofthis
                                                                        security threat.”(35)
corruptionisenhancedusingthethreatofviolencetoforce
                                                                     • TheUNODCestimatesthatdrugsandbribesarethetwo
theunwillingtotakebribes(astheyputitinMexico,“plomo
                                                                        largestincomegeneratorsinAfghanistan,amountingto
oplata”–“leadorcash”)�Drugcartelsalsotakeadvantage
                                                                        abouthalfofthecountry’sGDP(36)
ofvulnerableinstitutionsandindividualsbyconcentrating
                                                                     • TheWorldBankfoundthatbribeswerepaidin50%of
productionandtransitinregionswherepovertyandweak
                                                                        allColombianstatecontracts,andthatcorruptionin
governanceexist�Theresulthasbeenadramaticerosion
                                                                        Colombiacosts$2�6billionannually,theequivalentof
ofgoodgovernance(orpreventionofitsdevelopment)and
                                                                        60%ofthecountry’sdebt(37)
actualorthreateneddestabilisationofentirenationstates
andregions(31)(seetheCounttheCostsdevelopmentand
securitybriefingatwww�countthecosts�orgforfurther
information)�

AstheUNODChasdescribedit:

  “The magnitude of funds under criminal control poses
  special threats to governments, particularly in developing
  countries, where the domestic security markets and
  capital markets are far too small to absorb such funds
  without quickly becoming dependent on them. It is
  difficult to have a functioning democratic system when
  drug cartels have the means to buy protection, political
  support or votes at every level of government and
                                                                     Byitsverynature,thewarondrugsgeneratesviolentandorganised
  society. In systems where a member of the legislature or           crime(Photocredit:“macwagen”)
  judiciary, earning only a modest income, can easily gain
  the equivalent of some months’ salary from a trafficker
  by making one ‘favourable’ decision, the dangers of              5�Violentcrime
  corruption are obvious.”   (32)
                                    
                                                                   Absenttheformalregulationusedinthelegitimate

  • Guinea-Bissau,oneoftheworld’sleastdeveloped            economy,violenceisthedefaultregulatorymechanismin

    countries,hasrecentlybecomeamajorcocaine                theillicitdrugtrade�Itoccursthroughenforcingpayment

    traffickinghub(enroutefromLatinAmericato               ofdebts,throughrivalcriminalsandorganisationsfighting

    Europe),asdrugsarebeingsmuggledintothecountry         toprotectorexpandtheirmarketshareandprofits,and

    withthehelpofthemilitary,policeandjudiciary�This     throughconflictwithdruglawenforcers�

    systematiccorruptionhaspoliticalinvolvement,allthe
                                                                   Gangsorcartelsthatareprimarilyfinancedbythesaleof
    wayuptoheadofstatelevel(33)
                                                                   illicitdrugshavebeenimplicatedinasubstantialproportion
  • Between1993and1997,roughlyhalfofallconvictions
                                                                   ofstreetviolenceandhomicides�InLosAngeles,for
    ofUSpoliceofficersthroughFBI-ledcorruptioncases
                                                                   example,gang-relatedhomicidesaccountedfor43%ofthe
    werefordrug-relatedoffenses(34)




                                                                                                                                       7
“ Prohibition creates violence because it drives the drug market underground. This means
   buyers and sellers cannot resolve their disputes with lawsuits, arbitration or advertising,
   so they resort to violence instead.

   Violence was common in the alcohol industry when it was banned during Prohibition, but
   not before or after.

   Violence is the norm in illicit gambling markets but not in legal ones. Violence is routine
   when prostitution is banned but not when it’s permitted. Violence results from policies that
   create black markets, not from the characteristics of the good or activity in question.                            ”
                                                                                                              Jeffery Miron
                                                                 SeniorLecturer,HarvardUniversityDepartmentofEconomics




1,365homicidesthattookplacebetween1994and1995,94%      C$7billionannually,mainlythroughsupplyingtheUS�
ofwhichinvolvedfirearms�(38)                                Itisthelucrativenatureofthismarketthathasledtoa
                                                                 ferociousgangwarbeingwagedtocontroltheprofits�(42)
However,farfromlawenforcementreducingviolence,it
oftenexacerbatestheproblem�Asacomprehensivereview        Drugprofitsarealsofuellingviolenceinwidernational
bytheInternationalCenterforScienceinDrugPolicystates:   andregionalconflicts�Manyaffectedcountries,suchas
                                                                 Colombia,AfghanistanandBurma,havelonghistoriesof
  “Contrary to the conventional wisdom that increasing
                                                                 internalandregionalconflict�However,drugmoneyhas
  drug law enforcement will reduce violence, the existing
                                                                 playedamajorroleinmotivatingandarmingseparatist
  scientific evidence strongly suggests that drug prohibition
                                                                 andinsurgentgroups,anddomesticandinternational
  likely contributes to drug market violence and higher
                                                                 terrorgroups,blurringthedistinctionbetweenthem
  homicide rates.”(39)
                                                                 andcriminalgangs�Inthelongerterm,violencecan

Andthesefindingsare:                                          traumatisepopulationsforgenerations,inparticular
                                                                 fosteringacultureofviolenceamongstyoungpeople�
  “consistent with historical examples such as the steep
  increases in gun-related homicides that emerged under             • TheopiumtradeearntheTalibanandotherextremist

  alcohol prohibition in the United States and after the              groupsalongthePakistan-Afghanistanborderupto

  removal of Colombia’s Cali and Medellin cartels in the              $500millionayear,similartothecocainerevenues

  1990s. In this second instance, the destruction of the              thatfundColombia’sFARC(RevolutionaryArmed

  cartels’ cocaine duopoly was followed by the emergence              ForcesofColombia)(43)

  of a fractured network of smaller cocaine-trafficking             • AttheheightoftheColombiandrugwarsin1990,

  cartels that increasingly used violence to protect and              theannualmurderratewasoneper1000ofthe

  increase their market share.”                                      population–3timesthatofBrazilandMexico,and10
                                                                      timesthatoftheUS(44)
Eventheillegalcannabismarkethasreachedascalethat
                                                                    • InSoutheastAsia,thegrowingmethamphetamine
meansitisincreasinglycharacterisedbyviolence�Supply
                                                                      tradeislinkedtoregionalinstabilityandconflict�
totheUSisnowamajorpartoftheMexicandrugcartels’
                                                                      MinoritygroupsfromtheWaandShanstatesare
profits(estimatesrangefrom15-60%(40)),withavalueof
                                                                      fundinginsurgencyoperationsagainstBurma’s
around$1�5billion�(41)Similarly,thecannabismarketin
                                                                      militaryjuntathroughthemanufactureand
BritishColumbia,Canada,isestimatedtobeworthabout
  
  Drug-relatedviolenceinMexico
  TheexplosionofviolenceinMexicosinceamajor
  enforcementcrackdownagainstthedrugcartelswas
  announcedbyPresidentCalderonin2006hasbeenastartling
  demonstrationofthepotentialunintendedconsequencesof
  thewarondrugs:
                                                                       Figure2:DrugwarkillingsinMexicosincethelaunchof
                                                                       PresidentCalderon’soffensiveondrugcartels
  • TheMexicangovernmentestimatesthat34,000peoplehave
    beenkilledindrug-relatedmurdersfrom2006-2010�Other
    estimateswhichinclude2011dataputthefigureatover40,000�(45)Masskillings,beheadingsandpublicdisplaysofthe
    deadhavebecomecommonplace
  • AccordingtotheMexicangovernment,60%ofthecountry’sdrug-relateddeathsarethoseofmembersoforganised
    criminalgroups,27%aregovernmentofficialsand13%areinnocentbystanders
  • Historically,victimsofdrug-relatedviolencehavebeenmainlyyoungmales�Butincreasinglywomenandchildren
    arebecomingvictimstoo�(46)Asmanyas4,000womenand1,000childrenhavebeenkilledtodate,andaround50,000
    childrenhavelostatleastoneparent�(47)Youngpeoplearealsobeingdrawnintotheviolence,asarecentcaseofa
    14-year-oldprosecutedformurderingfourpeopleonbehalfofaMexicancartelshows(48)




    wholesaledistributionofmethamphetamineand                      32jurisdictionsthatusethedeathpenaltyfordrug
    opiumtoThailand,Chinaandothercountriesinthe                offencesincludehanging,firingsquad,beheadings
    region   (49)
                                                                        andlethalinjection
  • A2011UNODCglobalstudyintohomicideestimated               • Somegovernments,notablytheUS,openlyengage
    thatincountrieswithhighmurderratesdueto                    inillegaltargetedassassinationsofsuspecteddrug
    organisedcrime,suchasthoseinCentralAmerica,                 traffickers(52)
    menhaveaonein50chanceofbeingmurdered                    • ThefirstthreemonthsofThailand’s2003“waron
    beforetheyreachtheageof31   (50)
                                                                        drugscrackdown”saw2,800extrajudicialkillings
                                                                        thatremainun-investigatedandunpunished�The
6�Crimesperpetratedby
                                                                        ThaiOfficeoftheNarcoticsControlBoardsuggested
governments/states
                                                                        inNovember2007that1,400ofthepeoplekilledhad
Therearearangeofillegalactsperpetratedbystates                nolinktodrugs(53)
orgovernmentsunderthebannerofthewarondrugs                  • Insomecountries,notablyinIndia,EastandCentral
(explored in more detail in the Count the Costs Human                   Asia,drugusersareroutinelysenttodrugdetention
Rights Briefing at www.countthecosts.org)�Theseinclude               facilities,withouttrialordueprocess–forexample,
useofthedeathpenalty,extrajudicialkillingsand                   onthewordofafamilymemberorpoliceofficer
assassinations,arbitrarydetentionwithouttrial,corporal            –formonthsoryears�Whilstsometimestermed
punishment,andotherformsoftorture,cruel,inhuman                 “treatment”or“rehabilitation”facilities,theyare
anddegradingtreatmentorpunishment�                                 oftenindistinguishablefromprisons,anddetainees
                                                                        arefrequentlysubjecttotortureanddeniedaccessto
  • Approximately1,000executionsofdrugoffenders
                                                                        essentialmedicines(54)
    takeplaceeachyear,indirectviolationof
                                                                      • Peoplewhousedrugsoraresuspectedofdrug
    internationallaw�(51)Methodsofexecutionamongthe




                                                                                                                                    9
 Despiteitsfailuretoachieveitsstatedaims,thewarondrugscostsbillionsofdollarstoenforceeveryyear(Photocredit:MikeMahaffie)



    offences,areoftensubjecttocruelandunusual                            Forexample,theUKgovernmentspent£4�036billionin
    punishmentsincludingdeaththreatsandbeatings;                           2003ondrug-relatedenforcement(arrests,policedetention,
    extortionofmoneyorconfessionsthroughforced                            courtappearancesandprisonstays),(58)butthedrug-related
    withdrawalwithoutmedicalassistance;andvarious                          crimecostsofheroinandcocaineuseinEnglandandWales
    formsofcruel,inhumananddegradingtreatment                             alonewere£13�9bn�(59)Inotherwords,thecostsofcrime
    inthenameof“rehabilitation”,includingdenialof                        wereseveraltimesthatspentonenforcement�Withfigures
    meals,beatings,sexualabuseandthreatsofrape,                          onthisscaleprobablyreplicatedinotherconsumer,transit
    isolation,andforcedlabour       (55)
                                                                                andproducercountries,thetotaleconomiccostsofdrug-
  • Judicialcorporalpunishment(aformoftortureillegal                    relatedcrimearestaggering–inthehundredsofbillionsof
    underinternationalhumanrightslaw)ismaintained                         dollarseveryyear�
    in40countries,andinatleast12itismaintained
    fordrugandalcoholoffences(Singapore,Malaysia,                         Aretherebenefits?
    Iran,Yemen,SaudiArabia,Qatar,BruneiDarussalam,
                                                                                 Thekeybenefitpromised50yearsagoforinstigatinga
    Maldives,Indonesia[Aceh],Nigeria[northernstates],
                                                                                 criminaljustice-leddrugcontrolsystemwastoreduce,or
    LibyaandUAE)(56)
                                                                                 eliminate,the“evil”ofdrugaddiction�This,itwasclaimed,
7�Economiccostsofdrugwar-related                                           wouldbeachievedthroughenforcement-ledsupply
crimeandenforcement                                                            restrictionsandareductioninlevelsofdemandcaused
                                                                                 bythedeterrenteffectoflegalsanctionsagainstusers�
Accuratefiguresforspendingondruglawenforcementare
                                                                                 However,sincethendruguseandrelatedhealthharms
hardtocomeby,butrecentresearchsuggeststheUSalone
                                                                                 haverisenfasterthananypreviousperiodofhistory,even
hasspent,ataconservativeestimate,$640billiondollars
                                                                                 acceleratingduringtheescalationofthewarondrugsin
sincePresidentRichardNixondeclaredawarondrugswith
                                                                                 the1980s�Despiteeverincreasingresourcesbeingdirected
aninitialbudgetof$100min1971�(57)Globally,annualspend
                                                                                 intosupply-sideenforcement,thecriminalmarkethasmore
nowcertainlyexceeds$100billion�
                                                                                 thanmetthisgrowingdemand�
Thecostsofdrugwar-relatedcrimeare,however,farhigher�
Thereisalsonoevidencepunitiveenforcementsignificantly                Therearepossibilitiesforimprovingthetargetingof
detersuse�Comparisonsbetweenstatesorregionsshow                      enforcementeffortstowardsthemostharmfulelements
noclearcorrelationbetweenlevelsofuseandtoughness                    ofthecriminaltrade,(63)butthestarkrealityisthatthe
ofapproach,(60)nordostudiestrackingtheeffectsof                     nominalbenefitsofenforcementsimplyshifttheproblem
changesinpolicy–forexampleifnewlawsdecriminalising                 geographically,fromonecriminalgrouptoanother,or
possessionareintroduced�(61)Inshort,anydeterrenceisat               displaceusersfromonedrugtoanother–theUNODC’s
bestmarginalcomparedtothewidersocial,culturaland                    ballooneffectinaction�(64)
economicfactorsthatdrivedruguse�
                                                                             Sowhilstthewarondrugscaneliminatepeoplelike
Drugenforcementdoesofcourseleadtothearrestand                      Escobar,italsoenablestheirrisetopowerandcandolittle
prosecutionofseriousandviolentcriminals,likeColombia’s               ornothingtoeliminatethewidercriminalmarketthat
PabloEscobar,whoarerightlybroughttojustice�Thisseems               peoplelikehimareapartof�
anobviousbenefitbothforthefamiliesandcommunities
                                                                             Finally,theUKHomeOfficesuggeststhatcriminalisingusers
ofthevictims,andforthemaintenanceofcivicorder�
                                                                             canleadtothemaccessingtreatmentthroughbeingarrested
However,asnotedrecentlybyPierreLapaque,chiefofthe
                                                                             anddrugtested�(65)Evidencefromothercountries,however,
UNODC’sOrganizedCrimeandAnti-Money-Laundering
                                                                             suggeststhestigmaandfearofarrestdeterpeoplefrom
Unit,“imprisoned criminals will be immediately replaced by
                                                                             seekingtreatment,anditismoreeffectivetodivertusers
others, and their activities will continue as long as crime is
                                                                             intotreatmentwithoutharmingtheirfutureprospectswith
lucrative.”(62)TheUNODCalsonowacknowledgesthatthese
                                                                             acriminalrecordfordruguse�(66)
individualsarepartofthe“vastcriminalblackmarket”that
hasbeencreatedbythewarondrugsinthefirstplace�




Theenforcement-ledaproachtodrugshasnotsucceededinbringingaboutasustainedreductioninlevelsofcrimeordruguse




                                                                                                                                 11
Conclusions                                                        
                                                                   References
Thebattlecrytofighta“waragainstdrugs”hashadsuch        Quotes:

politicalpotencythatitsnegativecostshaveundergonelittle   Sanho Tree
                                                                   ‘WhatDarwintellsusaboutthedrugwar’,2007�
properscrutiny�Evaluationofdruglawenforcementstill         http://transform-drugs�blogspot�com/2007/12/what-darwin-teaches-us-
invariablyfocusesonprocessmeasures,likearrestsand          about-drug-war�html

drugseizures,ratherthanmeaningfulindicatorsthatmight       Jeffery Miron
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demonstratefailure–suchaslevelsofavailability,orhealth   http://articles�cnn�com/2009-03-24/politics/miron�legalization�drugs_1_
andsocialcosts,includingthecreationofcrime�(67)When       prohibition-drug-traffickers-violence?_s=PM:POLITICS

thesewidercostshavebeenconsidered,theconclusions
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                                                                                                                                                 13
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briefing-time-for-impact-assessment




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