Senator Claire McCaskill
A Senate committee chaired by Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri released a report blasting the amount of money wasted on the "War on Drugs." Image from Wikimedia Commons.

A special sub-committee of the United States Senate has released a report condemning the “War on Drugs” as a huge waste of money. The committee looked at Defense department spending on drug enforcement efforts and foreign military aid that has yielded few results and sent billions down the drain.

Army spends $75,000 on paintball in 2007 alone

A Senate sub-committee chaired by Sen. Claire McCaskill has released a report detailing Defense department spending on just the “War on Drugs,” and is blasting the waste of a lot of money on actions which have yielded few results, according to the Los Angeles Times. The Department of Defense has spent $6.1 billion in drug enforcement-related spending alone, including the U.S. Army spending $75,000 for paintball supplies in 2007 for training related to drug enforcement.

Contractors, especially private military contractors, received generous amounts. DynCorp, for instance, received $1.1 billion from 2005 to 2009. The Department of Defense itself disclosed that its methods for tracking drug war spending are not entirely reliable and it neither creates nor has any data whatsoever to prove whether the money spent even had an effect.

Narco cartels becoming more brazen

Since the “drug war” began during the Nixon administration, the United States government has continually increased its efforts to “win” the “War on Drugs,” and it does not seem as if those efforts have been fruitful. Since 1971, an estimated $2.5 trillion has been spent on drug enforcement, according to CNN, and the amount of money dedicated to drug enforcement increased by 600 percent from 1981 to 2002.

Despite those efforts, narco cartels are only getting more brazen. According to Fox, Mexican authorities assert that there are 14,000 armed cartel members in the cities of Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua alone. Ciudad Juarez is home to 5,500 of them, and the city is directly across the Rio Grande river from El Paso, Tex. More than 3,100 people died in that city from drug gang violence in 2010 alone. The Mexican government estimates that 34,000 people have died since 2006, directly as a result of drug cartels clashing with police. On any given week, there are dozens of news articles on large numbers of people killed by drug violence.

Obama administration disagrees

The Obama administration responded by saying the drug war is one of President Obama’s biggest priorities, and that it was successful. The number of drug arrests and incarcerations for drug offenses, for instance, has been growing. In 2007, 53 percent of federal prisoners were drug offenders, according to the Department of Justice, and 45 percent of the growth of the federal prison population between 2000 and 2007 was from drug offenders.

Cocaine is less available than it used to be; cocaine production capacity in Colombia was estimated to have dropped from 485 metric tons in 2007 to 295 metric tons in 2008. However, other drugs are more available than they used to be. Marijuana and heroin production capability in Mexico is estimated to have doubled between 2004 and 2008, and Mexican heroin production capability was estimated to have doubled from 2007 to 2008.


Los Angeles Times:,0,1742011.story



Department of Justice:

Department of Justice on Drug Availability:

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