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The Economics of Drug Addiction

by James

Red Ribbon Week is a drug prevention campaign dedicated to Special Agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena, who was killed by drug traffickers in Mexico while working to prevent drugs from reaching children. Red Ribbon Week is the oldest and largest campaign of its kind in the US, and aims to move toward a drug-free America by spreading awareness of drug prevention and education. In 2013, Red Ribbon Week is celebrated on October 23-31, 2013. During the week, many volunteers help with activities and classroom exercises that reinforce taking a stand against drugs in communities.

The role of drug prevention campaigns like Red Ribbon Week is very important, especially when keeping in mind the harrowing economic impact of drugs and addiction. This video highlights the economics of drug abuse, while also exploring the impact of the pricing and selling of drugs. Heroin, hallucinogens, and cocaine are often sold for over $100 per gram, while prescription drugs and marijuana are considerably cheaper at $5-80 per pill and $20 per gram, respectively.



Video by 12 Keys Rehab


Both the government and drug users are big spenders!

With varied drug prices and widespread availability, the US government and citizens spend about $300 billion as a result of drugs in the US each year. The majority of costs are via two opposing forces: the government, which spends to incarcerate and prevent drug transactions, and drug users. In 2006 alone, Americans spent a staggering $100 billion on drugs -- $11 billion on heroin, $18 billion on meth, $34 billon on marijuana, and $38 billion on cocaine. Keep those stats in mind when considering that someone is arrested for violating a drug law every 19 seconds. In 2009, there were more arrests made in the US for drugs than any other law.

The criminal justice system spends $56 billion per year on drugs alone.


The government’s spending on drug incarceration and prevention is a significant burden on the economy. The criminal justice system alone spends over $56 billion due to drugs, while incarceration accounts for an additional $48 billion. Premature mortality, hospitalization, specialty treatment, and crime victims account for additional tens of billions of dollars. The total cost of drugs on the economy is around $193 billion. As the video points out, that's enough to buy every American a new iPad every year. It's a startlingly high amount of money that drugs alone wreak on the economy.

There are many sources of the economic stress caused by drugs.


Drug addiction support has been an effective way for many drug addicts to recover. Addicts have a variety of terrible addiction symptoms, from the inability to develop close relationships to continuous health issues. Although billions are spent each year on drug addiction support, it is

– in addition to drug education

– an expense that is important to the goal of attaining a drug-free community.

Drug abusers, the criminal justice system, and treatment cost are unavoidable aspects of how drugs impact the economy. Drug prevention campaigns like Red Ribbon Week work toward a drug-free community for the betterment of the entire community, and also to alleviate the economic stress caused by drug abuse.


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and Finally Remember:

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."
- Matthew 7:7-8






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