Drug Control Spending

Drug Policy Question of the Week – 4-26-12

As answered by Mary Jane Borden, Editor of Drug War Facts for the Drug Truth Network on 4-26-12. http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/node/3842

Question of the Week: How much does the U.S. spend on drug control?

A guestimate of this number can be gleaned from the annual budgets for the National Drug Control Strategy.

A 2011 Congressional Research Service report states that

“The director of [Office of National Drug Control Policy] ONDCP has primary responsibilities of developing a comprehensive National Drug Control Strategy to direct the nation’s anti-drug efforts; [and] developing a National Drug Control Budget to implement the Strategy,”

The report says that this budget

“can be thought of as funding two broad categories of demand-reduction and supply reduction activities.”

The Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics defines “demand reduction” as

“programs and research related to drug abuse treatment, education, rehabilitation, and prevention that are designed to reduce the demand for drugs.”

It calls “supply reduction,” a

“wide scope of law enforcement-related activities designed to reduce the supply of drugs in the United States and abroad.”

A new Drug War Facts table and graph adapted from the Sourcebook shows federal drug control budgets from 2004 to 2012.

The ONDCP recently wrote,

“The President’s Fiscal Year 2012 National Drug Control Budget requests $26.2 billion … This represents an increase of $322.6 million (1.2 percent) over the FY 2010 enacted level of $25.9 billion.”

What isn’t mentioned is that since 2004, the 2012 Budget has grown by over one third. From 2004 to 2012, the Demand Reduction budget expanded by about one quarter, while supply reduction swelled by almost half.

Added together, drug control budget spending 2004 to 2012 equaled almost one-quarter of a trillion dollars.

As of today April 20, the outstanding public debt stands at $15.7 trillion.