America’s and the world’s appetite for drugs is insatiable. Billions upon billions of dollars have been spent on both the consumption of illicit drugs and fighting the war on drugs.
At first glance as an investor, you probably don’t think this affects you (that is, if you don’t use or sell drugs). But a closer look will reveal the enormous economic impact that the war on drugs has on America. Prepare yourself for some very alarming numbers.
Since 1971, the United States has spent $1,000,000,000,000 on the war on drugs. If you have a hard time reading that enormous number, it’s 1 TRILLION dollars! There are an estimated 500,000 inmates incarcerated for drug related charges. At an annual cost of $25,000 per inmate, that equates to $12.6 billion a year. America spends 58% less money to educate a child than it does to keep an inmate behind bars. The next generation (who will be future consumers) is suffering and is being heavily disadvantaged.
On the consumption side, the numbers are just as incredible. The estimated annual value of the cocaine market is $88 billion. For Heroine, it is $55 billion. The average cocaine addict will spend $25,000 per year to fuel their habit and the average heroine addict will spend $18,000.
These massive sums of money could be spent on much more productive things. The USA has been struggling financially for years now, to the point where a major city like Detroit had to declare bankruptcy. The enormous amount of money that is spent untaxed on drugs is mind boggling, and the large majority of it goes out of the country. Can you imagine if these wasted dollars could be used to fuel its growth or pay back its astronomical debt?
The first step of rehab is to admit there is a problem. Spending over a trillion dollars and incarcerating hundreds of thousands is definitely that. The next step is finding a way to solve it – we’re open to ideas.
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