The Economics of Illicit Drugs Essay

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In this essay I will define drug abuse and show the economic impact of the sales of illicit drugs. I will introduce an argument for legalization and the impact to the economy. Next I will discuss some of the economic cost from lack of productivity, health care cost and other cost associated with Drug abuse.
In order to understand the economic impact of illicit drugs we must first define what a drug is. A drug is defined as any substance other than food that affects the way your mind or body works. Abuse is defined as the wrong use or misuse of something. So drug abuse would be defined as the wrong use of drugs. As a D.A.R.E. officer, this definition has been ingrained into my mind for the past eighteen years.
During my twenty years of Law Enforcement I have learned how dangerous drugs are to the economy. They damage your body and drug abuse also has a huge economic impact on the country.
In the United States there are two types of drugs legal and illegal. The legal drugs have two subcategories, prescription and over the counter. Prescription drugs are placed into different categories called schedules. The ones that have a highest chance for abuse or addiction have a higher place in the schedule. Schedule I drugs are the drugs that have no safe or accepted medical use in the United States. Examples are heroin, marijuana, LSD, PCP, and crack cocaine. As you go down the schedule the drugs become less addictive and have a small potential for abuse, but are still controlled by the Drug Enforcement Agency. Schedule V are the lowest controlled drugs. Examples are codeine, valium and xanax Non prescription drugs are those that are sold over the counter and you do not need a prescription to purchase.
The illegal o...

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...0,000,000 on the health care, productivity and other cost, yet in the same time period we only spent $150 Billion on enforcing the drug laws.
If we focused on the treatment and rehabilitation of drug abusers, I feel a substantial portion of the trillion dollars could be used for other things. The economic benefit could possibly be unmeasurable.

Works Cited

Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) . (n.d.). Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) . Retrieved April 10, 2011, from
Moomaw, R. L., Olson, K. W., & Edgmand, M. R. (2007). Crime and Drugs a Modern Delima. Economics and contemporary issues (7th ed., pp. 201-216). Mason, OH: Thomson/South-Western.
THE ECONOMIC COSTS OF DRUG. (2001, September 1). National Criminal Justice Reference Service. Retrieved April 7, 2011, from

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