Economics: The War on Drugs is an economic powerhouse that preys on the poor and disenfranchised, another redistribution of wealth from the bottom upwards.  The War on Drugs not only affects the defendant being charged with the drug offense.  It’s a ripple effect that affects economic and social stability.  It affects the police and probation officers, prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, clerks, drug counselors, jails, and private prisons.  There are the costs of enforcement, prosecution, and incarceration as well as consequential costs of lost opportunities, families living in poverty, loss of tax revenues and the wasting of precious resources.  It also affects the children torn from their parents; the spouses who struggle to make ends meet; and the grandparents who must raise the young.   

It also affects the economy.  Not only is a potential worker removed from the workforce, but, on a grander scale, the War on Drugs adversely affects the economy, directly and indirectly.  It includes “direct costs” such as medical treatment; “indirect costs” such as lost productivity; and a”multiplier effect,” which is described as “flow-on effects” of violence on an economy.

For instance, which Mexico has spent an immense sum attempting to contain the Drug War, both in human capital and economic capital.  Since 2003, the Mexican drug war has killed as many as 160,000 people.  According to “Mexico Peace Index, “Mexican homicides had a total economic impact of $52 billion (727.4 billion pesos) in 2015. The direct costs of homicide were estimated at $4.6 billion (63.1 billion pesos), indirect costs at $43.8 billion (601.2 billion pesos) and the multiplier effect at $9.2 billion (126.3 billion pesos).

To understand the Drug War you need to follow the money: where is, and isn’t, it going?

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