The “war on drugs” costs Americans a staggering amount of money every year that it persists. Despite the billions they receive, federal, state and local law enforcement have a proven inability to stem the flow of drugs on the nation’s streets.
Since Richard Nixon declared a war on drugs in June 1971, the cost of that “war” had soared to over $1 trillion by 2010. Over $51 billion is spent annually to fight the drug war in the United States, according to Drug Policy Alliance, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting more humane drug policies.
It’s also taken a massive toll on human lives. In 2013, at least 2.2 million people were incarcerated in the U.S., withsome estimates reaching 2.4 million, making the U.S. home to the world’s largest prison population. A vast number of those prisoners are victims of the war on drugs, reported Alejandro Crawford in U.S. News and World Report in March: