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As Quoted from 2008 News Clippings in the MAP DrugNews Archive

While the U.S. deficit approaches $1 trillion, many states and local communities also face major budgetary shortfalls. Yet, despite the economic crisis, your tax dollars continue to fund drug war costs like these:

$40 billion for the drug war.
"Despite a $40 billion-a-year 'war on drugs' and political speeches about a 'drug-free society,' our society is swimming in drugs: cigarettes, sugar, alcohol, marijuana, Prozac, Ritalin, Viagra, steroids and caffeine." http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v08/n913/a03.html

$700 million to build prisons in just one state; $100 Million per year to run them.
"[The state prison in Scotland County, North Carolina] is one of six that state lawmakers have approved since 2001 to address a dire need for prison space, and they are already being expanded. When complete, the construction and expansions at all six facilities will have cost more than $700 million and operating costs will top $100 million annually." http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v08/n702/a11.html

$400 million more to Mexico.
"This past June [2008], Bush struck a deal with Calderon to approve $400 million toward additional drug war assistance (representing a 20% increase in the Mexican anti-narcotics budget) -- for still more helicopters, military training, ion scanners, canine units, and surveillance technology." http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v08/n940/a04.html

$225 million for regional anti-drug efforts.
"It [High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program] is one of 28 similar efforts nationwide, with the federal government spending about $225 million annually to coordinate federal, state and local law-enforcement campaigns." http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v08/n1082/a02.html

$702,969 to prosecute drug offenses in just one U.S. county.
"Lake County [Illinois] will spend $702,969 prosecuting drug offenses this year . Except for an estimated $30,000 in revenue from asset forfeitures, county taxpayers absorb the difference." http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v08/n793/a06.html

$178,290 for drug testing in just one school district.
"A $178,290 drug prevention grant means 5,900 drug tests for the Victoria [Texas] school district." http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v08/n712/a01.html

$615,000 for all kinds of things.
"[Sheriff] Smith Used $615,000 in Federal [forfeiture] funds for Tuition, a Lease, Private Lawyer and More .. $14,400 on employee training and associated travel . a 28-foot boat . $100,000 for a scholarship at Georgia State University . About $9,000 to help a boxing club owner pay her lease . $4,000 in retainer fees for Brunswick lawyer." http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v08/n654/a13.html

$60,000 for just one police force to buy drugs.
"Estimating controlled drug buys for the average local case run his task force $200, Centeno figured his officers spend at least $60,000 a year just to purchase the drugs they need to seal the average of 300 cases." http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v08/n526/a01.html

What if, instead of spending such shameful sums,
we instead taxed and regulated illicit substances?

"By legalising drugs we can apply the same controls to their production, distribution and consumption as we apply to alcohol and tobacco. And there's a triple bonus to society: spending on crime prevention will plunge, not just on drug-related policing but on all the criminality arising from the activities of drug-financed gangs; crime levels overall will plunge; and the government becomes a net recipient of monies from drug consumption rather than a net spender via law enforcement. Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron estimates that the United States spends $44 billion a year fighting the war on drugs. If they were legal, the US government would realise about $33 billion a year in tax revenue - a net swing of $77 billion." http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v09/n388/a07.html

If you think that your tax dollars can be better spent, then you know it's time to change drug policy.

scales of justice Here's what you can do to end our failed and expensive War on Drugs:
A. Join DrugSense or other local, state, or federal groups working on drug policy reform here and around the world. Our Drug Policy Central provides web services to more than 120 drug policy focused organizations. Check out http://www.drugpolicycentral.com/hosting/clients.htm for a group in your area.
B. DONATE. We're able to get the word out about the incredible harms of the drug war and alternatives to prohibition because people like you DONATE. It's quick, easy, and secure. Just visit http://www.drugsense.org/donate/
Help us uncover more government drug war waste.

Get involved. Write. Join. Donate.

Mark Greer
Executive Director

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