The United States provides billions of dollars each year to terrorists in Afghanistan and is funding the intelligence agency in Pakistan who work with the Taliban with drug money and is causing the destabilization of Mexico with the US demand for imported narcotics. 44% of illegal drugs are bought by North America and 33% is bought by Europe. The global drug trade generated an estimated US$321.6 billion in 2003 and that money goes to criminals and terrorists. A policy by Europe and North America to manage and supply the drugs internally would cut international demand by 4 times. The moral issues needs to be set aside for the practical and pragmatic need to handle the problems internally instead of exporting the problems. It is for the economic reasons (cost of wars and other government costs) and the strategic reasons. The faster solution is to stop or dramatically reduce IMPORTED narcotics with whatever policies would be effective.
The failing drug policies of the United States also have extra costs being the reason for a large fraction the imprisonment of 2.3 million people.
Drug related and alcohol related crime
2002 in U.S. about a quarter of convicted property and drug offenders in local jails had committed their crimes to get money for drugs, compared to 5% of violent and public order offenders. Among State prisoners in 2004 the pattern was similar, with property (30%) and drug offenders (26%) more likely to commit their crimes for drug money than violent (10%) and public-order offenders (7%). In Federal prisons property offenders (11%) were less than half as likely as drug offenders (25%) to report drug money as a motive in their offenses.
Of the adult US population, at least 75% are drinkers; and about 6% of the total group are alcoholics. In groups which are almost 100% drinkers, the alcoholism rate is about 8%. Many reports state that about 73% of felonies are alcohol-related. One survey shows that in about 67% of child-beating cases, 41% of forcible rape cases, 80% of wife-battering, 72% of stabbings, and 83% of homicides, either the attacker or the victim or both had been drinking
Here is a congressional report on - Afghanistan: Narcotics and U.S. Policy
Opium poppy cultivation and drug trafficking have eroded Afghanistan’s fragile political and economic order over the last 30 years. In spite of ongoing counternarcotics efforts by the Afghan government, the United States, and their partners, Afghanistan remains the source of over 90% of the world’s illicit opium.
United Nations officials estimated that the export value of the 2008 opium poppy crop and its derived opiates reached over $3 billion, sustaining fears that Afghanistan’s economic recovery continues to be underwritten by drug profits. The trafficking of Afghan drugs also appears to provide financial and logistical support to a range of extremist groups that continue to operate in and around Afghanistan, including resurgent Taliban fighters and some Al Qaeda operatives. Although coalition forces may be less frequently relying on figures involved with narcotics for intelligence and security support, many observers have warned that drug-related corruption among appointed and elected Afghan officials creates political obstacles to progress.
In March 2009, Obama Administration Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Richard Holbrooke called U.S. counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan to date “the most wasteful and ineffective program I have seen in 40 years in and out of the government.”
The larger problem of the harmful usage and demand for narcotics will be tougher to solve. However, for US global policy the effort should be to make pragmatic choices that reduce the demand for imported narcotics and lower the income of terrorists and criminals. This could mean semi-legalization with regulation and management and more government supplied drugs for the addicts. All of the countries (UK, Russia etc...) need to have policies that do not import narcotics from foreign source to prevent funding international crime and terrorism.
The Anti-narcotics efforts have been trying to focus on destroying supply but has been mostly ineffective. There needs to be international policies that dramatically shift demand for all imported narcotics. This is in order to reduce exporting funds for international crime and terrorism.
* Pakistan is a transit country “for opiates and hashish moving to markets around the world and precursor chemicals moving into neighboring Afghanistan.”
* British officials estimate that 90-95% of the heroin that enters the country annually is derived from Afghan opium
* Iran serves as the transit route for “perhaps 60 percent” of the opiates smuggled from Afghanistan.
The Illegal Drug Trade
The illegal drug trade from wikipedia
This amounts to an export value of about $64 billion, with a quarter being earned by opium farmers and the rest going to district officials, insurgents, warlords and drug traffickers. UN report said the global drug trade generated an estimated US$321.6 billion in 2003. Most of the buying was in North America, with 44 percent of all estimated sales, followed by Europe with 33 percent. Africa was in last place with only 4 percent.
The politics of heroin is at amazon.com
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