George Graham

“War on Drugs” Pours Money into a Bottomless Pit

Another report has emerged that exposes America’s “war on drugs” as a bad joke. An article by Ginger Thompson in yesterday’s New York Times  reveals:

Undercover American narcotics agents have laundered or smuggled millions of dollars in drug proceeds as part of Washington’s expanding role in Mexico’s fight against drug cartels, according to current and former federal law enforcement officials.

The agents, primarily with the Drug Enforcement Administration, have handled shipments of hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal cash across borders, those officials said, to identify how criminal organizations move their money, where they keep their assets and, most important, who their leaders are.

Click here to read the article.

I’ve read this kind of stuff before, haven’t you? How many times have we been told that the U.S. Government is the world’s biggest customer for illicit drugs?

I’ve even read articles that claim the CIA is largely financed by the proceeds from illegal drug sales.

There’s no way for me to verify these reports, of course. The world of illegal drugs is murky, and I am far removed from it in my quiet Florida home. But even here, drugs are abundant. I understand that the county where I reside is a center for Florida’s meth trade.

And reading the local newspaper, I come across almost daily reports of drug busts.

Obviously, the “war on drugs” is having no effect hereabouts.

I doubt it is having any effect on the trade anywhere.

Illegal drugs of every description are flowing freely across the face of the earth despite the billions of dollars spent to stop it. In Afghanistan, for example, opium poppy growing has flourished since the NATO/U.S. occupation (photo above).

According to the Congressional Research Service:

Efforts to significantly reduce the flow of illicit drugs from abroad into the United States have so far not succeeded. Moreover, over the past decade, worldwide production of illicit drugs has risen dramatically: opium and marijuana production has roughly doubled and coca production tripled.

In America, the federal government spent over $15 billion dollars in 2010 on the nonsensical “war,” according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy. That’s about $500 per second. And state and local governments spent another $25 billion.

Click here to get the latest figures.

Yet I haven’t heard a single politician suggest diverting the money to reduce that deficit they’re always complaining about. Or to ease the misery afflicting millions of American children. It seems to me the $15 billion would have done a lot more good fighting hunger.

And here’s an even more sensible idea: legalize the industry. Think of the tax revenue the government could derive from that!

But I am sure it will never happen. Once again, special interests will triumph over the common good – and common sense.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for