Know Your Drug War: $15 Billion in 2011



The U.S. drug war runs on money, and until reformers understand how cash flows, ending prohibition will go nowhere. Kill the funds and any war dies. The U.S. government hasn't passed its budget for 2011, which was due last October. So we're funding things as is (printing money) while House Republicans work to roll spending back to 2008 levels. That'll mean less money for drug treatment, but more of the same ongoing war on the American public. Here's a look at some highlights of how your dollars are being spent, from the Office of National Drug Control Policy's Drug Control Strategy 2011:


Total Annual Drug War budget: $15 billion dollars.

That includes:
- $2.4 billion for the Drug Enforcement Administration

- $2.4 billion for Customs and Border Protection

- Does not include cost of Federal prisons ($6 billion) where half of prisoners are in there for drugs.

But it will help fund:

- 9,236 D.E.A. full-time equivalent employees (75 percent of those, or about 7,500, are in domestic investigations)

- 10,000 Department of Homeland Security FTEs

- 2,480 Immigrations and Customs Enforcement FTEs

- 6,099 Coast Guard FTEs

And the D.E.A.'s “EPIC ESP”:

“The DEA requests $1.5 million to fund servers and software licenses to beef up the El Paso Intelligence Center’s (EPIC) System Portal (ESP) infrastructure since the current system capacity is insufficient to accommodate the estimated growth of users.Users access the ESP to report seizure incidents, query EPIC’s databases, obtain various reports in support of their investigations, share intelligence, and submit queries to and obtain results from the EPIC Watch Operations Section.”

(According to the Washington Post, the D.E.A. has 92 top-secret work locations.)

Last year the D.E.A. arrested about: 2,300 people.

The Strategy includes funding for 3,277 FTEs in the Interagency Crime and Drug Enforcement, a super-group that busts heads using the U.S. Marshalls. ICDE claims it met its previous year's goal: intercepting one percent of the aggregate domestic supply of product from the most-wanted drug trafficking organizations.

Global War:
$1 billion will go to other countries for their drug war, including $177 million to Mexico, $32 million to the Caribbean Basin, and $250 million to Afghanistan, where it seems like the only thing that grows is poppies.

Road Carnage:
If House Republicans roll the budget back to 2008, say goodbye to a cool million to study drug-impaired driving. Interestingly, in 2009, the people who run the Drug Impaired Driving program were asked to develop and recommend methods for detecting major illegal drugs in drivers. They found:

“No technologies currently exist for detecting drugs. ... such technology was not feasible for roadside use in the near future.”

Death and Taxes ... and Weed:
The Internal Revenue Service racked up 462 drug convictions last year, including the successful investigation of a pot kingpin sentenced to 20 years in Federal Prison and a $10 million judgment. “These drug trafficking offenses were part of a seventy-count superseding indictment related to his leadership of a 12‐year conspiracy involving the distribution of over 30,000 kilograms of marijuana worth more than $33 million.”

Under the Influence — of CASH:
$165 million goes to "Other," which includes:
- $66.5 million for anti-drug messaging at America's youth.
- $88.5 million in matching grants to people the like the Coalition for a Drug-Free California.

Fun Fact:
One percent of DOE anti-drug grant winners reported a decrease in use.
The government's target: 76.7 percent.

Your money hard at work
  • Your money hard at work