A people’s greatest madness is usually hidden from them. So it is with America’s war on drugs. Generation after generation it goes on at vast cost — both in terms of money and the damage it does to our society. Like prohibition. Will the recession end the war on drugs”, as the Great Depression ended prohibition?
As of not the war rolls on mindlessly, as seen in the National Threat Assessments produced by the National Drug Intelligence Center of the US Department of Justice.
NDIC’s annual National Drug Threat Assessment gives policymakers and counterdrug executives a timely, predictive report on the threat of drugs, gangs, and violence. We synthesize the views of local, state, regional, and federal agencies to produce a comprehensive picture of this threat.
National Drug Threat Assessment 2009, December 2008 — PDF, 12.7 MB pdf
This assessment provides a strategic overview and predictive outlook of drug trafficking and abuse trends within the United States. The assessment identifies the primary drug threats to the nation, tracks drug availability throughout the country, and analyzes trafficking and distribution patterns of illicit drugs within the United States. It evaluates the threat posed by illegal drugs by examining availability, production and cultivation, transportation, distribution, and demand.
The report draws many conclusions, none of which offer any prospect of a quick end to the war.
The trafficking and abuse of illicit drugs inflict tremendous harm upon individuals, families, and communities throughout the country. The violence, intimidation, theft, and financial crimes carried out by drug trafficking organizations (DTOs), criminal groups, gangs, and drug users in the United States pose a significant threat to our nation. The cost to society from drug production, trafficking, and abuse is difficult to fully measure or convey; however, the most recent data available are helpful in framing the extent of the threat. For example:
- More than 35 million individuals used illicit drugs or abused prescription drugs in 2007.
- In 2006 individuals entered public drug treatment facilities more than 1 million times seeking assistance in ending their addiction to illicit or prescription drugs.
- More than 1,100 children were injured at, killed at, or removed from methamphetamine laboratory sites from 2007 through September 2008.
- For 2009 the federal government has allocated more than $14 billion for drug treatment and prevention, counterdrug law enforcement, drug interdiction, and international counterdrug assistance.
- In September 2008 there were nearly 100,000 inmates in federal prisons convicted and sentenced for drug offenses, representing more than 52 percent of all federal prisoners.
- In 2007 more than 1.8 million drug-related arrests in the United States were carried out by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.
- Mexican and Colombian DTOs generate, remove, and launder between $18 billion and $39 billion in wholesale drug proceeds annually.
- Diversion of controlled prescription drugs costs insurance companies up to $72.5 billion annually, nearly two-thirds of which is paid by public insurers.
DTOs rapidly adapt to law enforcement and policy initiatives that disrupt their drug trafficking operations. Law enforcement and intelligence reporting revealed several strategic shifts by DTOs in drug production and trafficking in 2007 and early 2008, attributed in part to the success of counterdrug agencies in disrupting the operations of DTOs. Many of these shifts represent immediate new challenges for policymakers and resource planners. The National Drug Threat Assessment 2009 outlines the progress and emerging counterdrug challenges in detailed strategic findings, including the following:
(a) Mexican DTOs represent the greatest organized crime threat to the United States. The influence of Mexican DTOs over domestic drug trafficking is unrivaled. In fact, intelligence estimates indicate a vast majority of the cocaine available in U.S. drug markets is smuggled by Mexican DTOs across the U.S.–Mexico border. Mexican DTOs control drug distribution in most U.S. cities, and they are gaining strength in markets that they do not yet control.
(b) Violent urban gangs control most retail-level drug distribution nationally, and some have relocated from inner cities to suburban and rural areas. Moreover, gangs are increasing their involvement in wholesale-level drug distribution, aided by their connections with Mexican and Asian DTOs.
(c) Mexican DTOs will most likely continue to establish new markets for Mexican heroin in northeastern states. Recent encroachments by Mexican heroin distributors into more northeastern drug markets most likely indicate a determination on the part of Mexican DTOs to expand Mexican heroin distribution in new market areas.
(d) The Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008 was enacted in October 2008 and will most likely reduce the number of rogue Internet pharmacies selling controlled prescription drugs. The federal law amends the Controlled Substances Act and prohibits the delivery, distribution, or dispensing of controlled prescription drugs over the Internet without a prescription written by a doctor who has conducted at least one in-person examination of the patient.
(e) Treatment admissions for MDMA addiction may increase. Treatment admissions for MDMA addiction may increase as the distribution of MDMA tablets adulterated with highly addictive substances, such as methamphetamine, increases.
For more information from the FM site
To read other articles about these things, see the FM reference page on the right side menu bar. Of esp relevance to this topic:
Posts about the drug war:
- Is Mexico unraveling?, 28 April 2008
- “High Stakes South of the Border”, 13 May 2008
- “Mexico: On the Road to a Failed State?”, 14 May 2008
- Stratfor: the Mexican cartels strike at Phoenix, AZ, 6 July 2008
- “Drug cartels ‘threaten’ Mexican democracy”, 24 July 2008
- Stratfor reports on Mexico, news ignored by our mainstream media, 19 August 2008
Other intelligence community reports about the future:
CIA and National Intelligence Center reports looking at the future
- Global Trends 2010, November 1997 (revision)
- “Global Trends 2015“, December 2000 — “A Dialogue About the Future With Nongovernment Experts”
- “Mapping the Global Future 2020“, December 2004 — “Based on Consultations With Nongovernmental Experts Around the World”
- “Global Scenarios to 2025“, February 2008
- Global Trends 2025, November 2008 — Here is a FM post briefly reviewing it.