Drug War Facts

Source: Drug Policy Alliance

The War on Drugs is a Failure.

Today, the U.S. accounts for 5% of the world’s population, but 25% of the world’s prisoners. We owe that distinction to the War on Drugs, which puts more people behind bars each year.

It’s time to face the facts about our nation’s War on Drugs!

Conservative estimate of annual government spending on the U.S. War on Drugs: $51,000,000,000

Number of people arrested in 2013 in the U.S. on nonviolent drug charges: 1.5 million

Number of people arrested for a marijuana law violation in 2013: 693,482

Number of those charged with marijuana law violations who were arrested for possession only: 609,423 (88 percent)

Number of Americans behind bars in 2013 in federal, state and local prisons and jails: 2,220,300 or 1 in every 110 adults, the highest incarceration rate in the world

Proportion of people incarcerated for a drug law violation in state prison that are black or Hispanic, although these groups use and sell drugs at similar rates as whites: 57%

Number of states that allow the medical use of marijuana: 23, plus the District of Columbia

Tax revenue that drug legalization would yield annually, if currently-illegal drugs were taxed at rates comparable to those on alcohol and tobacco: $46.7 billion

Number of people killed in Mexico’s drug war since 2006: 100,000+

Number of students who have lost federal financial aid eligibility because of a drug conviction: 200,000+

Number of people in the U.S. that died from an accidental drug overdose in 2013: 43,982

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