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November 22, 2004 - The Mirror (UK)

World Of Drugs

The Astonishing Facts That Show How This Costly 130-year War On Narcotics Has Achieved So Little

By Ros Wynne-Jones

Return to Drug War News: Don't Miss Archive

BILLIONS have been spent by governments in Western Europe and North America fighting the drug dealers. But the war is being lost.

Heroin, cocaine, metamphetamine and other illegal drugs are cheaper, purer and easier to get hold of than ever.

And in the United States alone half a million people are behind bars on drug charges - more than the entire prison population of Western Europe.

These shocking statistics show how drugs are ruling the world.

42% of British 11 to15-year-olds were offered drugs last year.

55% of burglars test positive for Class A drugs.

80 million Americans have used drugs at some time.

4,175,357 US cannabis users were arrested during Bill Clinton's presidency.

12.5% of the world's drugs are consumed in the US.

£300 billion is the value of the global illegal drug trade, according to United Nations estimates - on a par with the global trade in oil or arms.

£600 million was spent by US federal government on drug control in 1980.

£18 billion was spent by US federal and state governments on drug control in 1997.

£6.6 billion Value of the UK drug market in 2001.

£36 billion is spent on illegal drugs by US population per year.

14 million marijuana users in the US.

5,000 "problematic drug users" in the UK when Home Secretary James Callaghan introduced the Misuse of Drugs Act in 1971. Today there are 280,000.

129 years since the first US clampdown on drugs: closing Chinese-run opium dens in San Francisco.

£1.03 billion direct annual expenditure by UK government on "tackling drugs" strategy, 2002-3.

60% - the drop in price of heroin in Western Europe in the past decade. Cocaine is 45 per cent cheaper and 95 per cent of street prostitution in the UK is related to crack and heroin use.

60,000 hectares of suspected coca farms were fumigated by the CIA in 2001 - yet in the same year there was a 60 per cent increase in land dedicated to coca crops.

£60 billion - average yearly earnings of the US drug trafficking industry.

46% of street heroin in the United States is from South America, 23.9 per cent is of South-East Asian origin and 27.3 per cent comes from Mexico.

150 countries signed up to the UN Convention on Drugs.

90 years since the Harrison Act outlawed the use of cocaine in America, playing on fears of "Negro Cocaine Fiends" or "Cocainized Niggers" posing a threat to white women.

1937 - The year marijuana was criminalised in the US amid fears that violent pot-smoking Mexicans were threatening the US way of life.

1 in 3 Americans has used drugs.

32 years since President Nixon invented the War On Drugs to describe the United States' anti-drugs programme.

£1.2 billion was spent by the Bush Snr administration on spraying "drug" fields in Latin America.

2,500 FBI agents were assigned to fighting drugs pre 9/11; 1,151 were assigned to fighting terrorism.

£26 million was handed over by George W Bush administration to the Taliban in return for a ban on opium poppy fields, four months before 9/11.

£1.2 billion - current illicit income from poppy cultivation and heroin production in Afghanistan.

1.3 tons of heroin was seized in South American airports in 2002.

1,000 tons of Canadian marijuana is shipped annually to the US.

495,536 cannabis plants were eradicated in California in 2001.

18 tons of heroin was consumed last year by United States users.

2,968 drug-related deaths in UK in 2000.

£20 billion The annual cost of drug-related crime, estimated by the UK government.

Drug offenders were executed by China to celebrate UN world anti-drugs day in 2002.

5.1 million cocaine users, 2.1 million ecstasy users and 426,000 heroin users in the UK in 2002.

50% of women in UK prisons have a drug problem.

24,299 federal drug cases in US between April 2000-April 2001.

700 tons of pure cocaine is produced annually by Colombia.

337 tons worth of heroin is currently being grown in Afghanistan. 250 tons of pure Colombian cocaine consumed by America in 2003; 150 metric tons consumed by Europe.

2,500 tons of marijuana grown in US each year.

5,000 tons of marijuana imported to the US from Mexico annually.

£1,020 Export value of drug for each opium-producing family in Afghanistan in 2003.

£600 million spent on bribes by Colombian drug cartels annually.

20% of all cannabis seized worldwide in 2002 came from Africa.

1.4 million injecting drug users in North America; 1.2 million in Western Europe. 400,000 intravenous users in Middle East and North Africa, 3.3 million in South and South-East Asia and 1 million in South America.

65% of all opiate seizures in 2003 were in Asia.

3-4 million heroin users in Russia, the world's largest heroin market.

1 million registered drug addicts in China, 2003.

3000% - the average profit margin on hard drugs in the UK.

153,800 hectares under coca cultivation, Colombia, Peru and Bolivia.

185 million people worldwide consume drugs annually, according to UN figures.

168 tons of opium produced in Laos in 2002.

£1.30 Average price per kg of Peruvian coca leaf.

3.4% of Irish 15 to 64-year-olds used ecstasy last year - making Ireland the drug's biggest consumer in Western Europe.

96,600 Moroccan farms grew cannabis in 2003.

27% UK prisoners reported using heroin.

77 countries use the death penalty for drug offences: Saudi Arabia (beheading), Iran (hanging), China (shooting, lethal injection), Singapore (hanging), Vietnam (shooting), Malaysia (shooting) and Thailand (shooting).

TOMORROW: The terrible cost of this failed campaign.

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