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Drug war facts
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Content Preview
Drug War Facts
Compiled and Maintained by
Common Sense for Drug Policy
(c) Copyright 2001
Publishing of excerpts is permitted and encouraged.
However, publishing or posting on the Internet of more than four hundred words without
written permission is prohibited.


Facts by Topic
A Addictive Qualities of Popular Drugs . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
B Adolescents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
C Alcohol & Crime . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
D Annual Causes of Deaths in the US . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
E Civil and Human Rights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
F Cocaine and Crack . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
G Cocaine & Pregnancy ("Crack Babies") . . . . . . . . . . . 17
H Corruption of Law Enforcement Officers. . . . . . . . . . . 19
I Crime . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
J Drug Courts and Treatment as an Alternative to Incarceration . . 24
K Drug Testing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
L Drug Use Estimates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
M Economics. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
N Ecstasy: What the Evidence Shows . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
O Environment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
P Forfeiture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
Q Gateway Theory. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
R Hemp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
S Heroin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
T Impact of the Drug War on Families . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
U Interdiction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
V International Facts and Trends: Comparing Drug Policies
of Various Nations and the US . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
W Mandatory Minimums . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
X Marijuana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69
Y Medical Marijuana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74
Z Methadone, LAAM and Buprenorphine . . . . . . . . . . . 77
aa Methamphetamine. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82
bb Militarization of the Drug War . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86
cc Prison . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88
dd Race, HIV and AIDS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93
ee Race, Prison and the Drug Laws . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94
ff Syringe Exchange . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98
gg The Netherlands and the United States . . . . . . . . . . . 102
hh Treatment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
ii Women. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109


Common Sense for Drug Policy
3220 N Street NW #141, Washington, DC 20007
info@csdp.org * www.csdp.org
Melvin R. Allen
Robert E. Field Mike Gray
Diana McCague
Kevin B. Zeese
Director
Co-Chairman
Chairman
Director
President
March, 2001
Dear Reader:
This booklet is a snapshot of the current Drug War Facts, which is updated
regularly and available on the Internet at: www.drugwarfacts.org
Drug War Facts addresses important criminal justice and public health issues.
Our mission is to offer useful facts with citations from authoritative sources
to a debate which is often characterized by myths, error and emotion. We
believe an informed society will generate wise policies over time.
For this revised edition, Doug McVay, Research Director, has added material
from a variety of sources as well as updated certain data that appeared in earlier
editions.
Questions, comments or suggestions for additions and modifications may be
addressed to Doug McVay at the address above or via email at
dmcvay@drugwarfacts.org.
Sincerely,
Robert E. Field, Co-Chairman


Addictive Qualities of Popular Drugs
A
(Higher Number = Greater Effect)
WITHDRAWAL: Presence and severity of characteristic withdrawal
symptoms.
REINFORCEMENT: A measure of the substance's ability, in human
and animal tests, to get users to take it again and again, and in
preference to other substances.

TOLERANCE: How much of the substance is needed to satisfy
increasing cravings for it, and the level of stable need that is
eventually reached.

DEPENDENCE: How difficult it is for the user to quit, the relapse rate, the
percentage of people who eventually become dependent, the rating
users give their own need for the substance and the degree to which the
substance will be used in the face of evidence that it causes harm.

INTOXICATION: Though not usually counted as a measure of
addiction in itself, the level of intoxication is associated with
addiction and increases the personal and social damage a
substance may do.

Source: Jack E. Henningfield, PhD for NIDA, Reported by Philip J. Hilts, New
York Times, Aug. 2, 1994 "Is Nicotine Addictive? It Depends on Whose Criteria
You Use."
1

Adolescents
B
1. A federal report by the U.S. Center on Substance Abuse Prevention
stated that "alternatives programming appears to be most
effective among those youth at greatest risk for substance abuse
and related problems." According to the report, alternatives are
defined as "those that provide targeted populations with activities
that are free of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs."

Source: Maria Carmona and Kathryn Stewart, A Review of Alternative Activities
and Alternatives Programs in Youth-Oriented Prevention (National Center for the
Advancement of Prevention, under contract for the Substance Abuse Mental Health
Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Substance Abuse Prevention,
1996), p. 21, 3.
2. Despite the fact that federal spending on the drug war increased
from $1.65 billion in 1982 to $17.7 billion in 1999, more than half of
the students in the United States in 1999 tried an illegal drug before
they graduated from high school. Additionally, 65% have tried
cigarettes by 12th grade and 35% are current smokers, and 62% of
twelfth graders and 25% of 8th graders in 1999 report having been
drunk at least once.

Source: Office of National Drug Control Policy, National Drug Control Strategy:
Budget Summary (Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1992), pp.
212-214; Office of National Drug Control Policy, National Drug Control Strategy:
2000 Annual Report (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 2000), p.
97, Table 4-2; Johnston, L., Bachman, J. & O'Malley, P., Monitoring the Future:
National Results on Adolescent Drug Use Overview of Key Findings 1999,
(Washington, DC: NIDA, 2000), pp. 3-6.
3. Federal research shows that the ONDCP's anti-drug media campaign
is ineffective. According to NIDA's 1998 Household Survey, exposure
to prevention messages outside school, such as through the media, was
fairly widespread but appeared to be unrelated to illicit drug use or
being drunk. NIDA goes on to report that nearly 80% of youths who
used illicit drugs and more than three-fourths of youths who were
drunk on 51 or more days in the past year reported being exposed to
prevention messages outside school.

Source: Office of Applied Studies, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National
Household Survey on Drug Abuse: Main Findings 1998 (Rockville, MD:
SAMHSA, US Department of Health and Human Services, March 2000), p. 174.
4. Every year from 1975 to 1998, at least 82% of high school seniors
surveyed have said they find marijuana fairly easy or very easy to
obtain. In 1999, 88.9% of high school seniors said it was fairly or
very easy to obtain.

Source: Johnston, L., Bachman, J. & O'Malley, P., Monitoring the Future: National
Results on Adolescent Drug Use Overview of Key Findings 1999 (Washington DC:
NIDA, 2000), p. 48, Table 6; online version of MTF survey.
2

Adolescents
B
5. The Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse reports that
teenagers consider marijuana even easier to obtain than beer.
Source: Luntz Research Companies, National Survey of American Attitudes on
Substance Abuse II: Teens and Their Parents (New York, NY: National Center on
Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, 1996), Foreword by
Joseph Califano.
6. "Our results are consistent in documenting the absence of beneficial
effects associated with the DARE program. This was true
whether the outcome consisted of actual drug use or merely
attitudes toward drug use. In addition, we examined processes
that are the focus of intervention and purportedly mediate the
impact of DARE (e.g., self-esteem and peer resistance), and
these also failed to differentiate DARE participants from
nonparticipants. Thus, consistent with the earlier Clayton et al.
(1996) study, there appear to be no reliable short-term,
long-term, early adolescent, or young adult positive outcomes
associated with receiving the DARE intervention."

Source: Lynam, Donald R., Milich, Richard, et al., "Project DARE: No Effects at
10-Year Follow-Up", Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (Washington,
DC: American Psychological Association, August 1999), Vol. 67, No. 4, 590-593.
7.
A federally funded Research Triangle Institute study of Drug
Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) found that "DARE's core
curriculum effect on drug use relative to whatever drug education
(if any) was offered in the control schools is slight and, except for
tobacco use, is not statistically significant."

Source: Ennett, S.T., et al., "How Effective Is Drug Abuse Resistance Education? A
Meta-Analysis of Project DARE Outcome Evaluations," American Journal of
Public Health, 84: 1394-1401 (1994).
8. Dr. Dennis Rosenbaum, a professor at the University of Illinois at
Chicago, recently completed a six-year study of 1,798
students and found that "DARE had no long-term effects on a
wide range of drug use measures"; DARE does not "prevent
drug use at the stage in adolescent development when drugs
become available and are widely used, namely during the high
school years"; and that DARE may actually be counter-
productive. According to the study, "there is some evidence
of a boomerang effect among suburban kids. That is,
suburban students who were DARE graduates scored higher
than suburban students in the Control group on all four
major drug use measures."

Source: Rosenbaum, Dennis, Assessing the Effects of School-based Drug
Education: A Six Year Multilevel Analysis of Project DARE, Abstract (April
6, 1998).
3

Adolescents
B
9. A federal report by the U.S. Center on Substance Abuse Prevention
noted that "adolescence is a period in which youth reject
conventionality and traditional authority figures in an effort to
establish their own independence. For a significant number of
adolescents, this rejection consists of engaging in a number of
`risky' behaviors, including drug and alcohol use. Within the past
few years, researchers and practitioners have begun to focus on
this tendency, suggesting that drug use may be a `default' activity
engaged in when youth have few or no opportunities to assert their
independence in a constructive manner."

Source: Maria Carmona and Kathryn Stewart, A Review of Alternative Activities
and Alternatives Programs in Youth-Oriented Prevention (National Center for the
Advancement of Prevention, under contract for the Substance Abuse Mental Health
Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Substance Abuse Prevention,
1996), p. 5.
10. The World Health Organization noted that, while some studies
indicate that adolescents who use marijuana might be more likely
to drop out of high school and experience job instability in young
adulthood, "the apparent strength of these cross-sectional studies ...
has been exaggerated because those adolescents who are most
likely to use cannabis have lower academic aspirations and poorer
high school performance prior to using cannabis, than their peers
who do not."

Source: Hall, W., Room, R., & Bondy, S., WHO Project on Health Implications of
Cannabis Use: A Comparative Appraisal of the Health and Psychological
Consequences of Alcohol, Cannabis, Nicotine and Opiate Use August 28, 1995
(Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization, 1998).
11. The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that in general, the heavier
the alcohol use, the more likely an adolescent will be involved with
criminal behaviors.

Source: Greenblatt, Janet C., US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics,
Patterns of Alcohol Use Among Adolescents and Associations with Emotional and
Behavioral Problems (Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, March 2000), p. 6.
12. Even after controlling for other factors (e.g., age, gender, family
structure, income, past month marijuana use, etc.), there is "a
relationship between past month alcohol use and emotional and
behavioral problems. The relationships were particularly strong
among heavy and binge alcohol use and delinquent, aggressive,
and criminal behaviors."

Source: Greenblatt, Janet C., US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice
Statistics, Patterns of Alcohol Use Among Adolescents and Associations with
Emotional and Behavioral Problems (Washington, DC: US Department of
Justice, March 2000), p. 9.
4

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