Are Drugs Today Really Cheaper, Purer, and More Available Than Ever? Blog by Rafael Lemaitre Communications Director, The Office of National Drug Control Policy

“You’ve probably heard this claim: Despite decades of effort, we’ve failed to make any significant progress in reducing drug use in this country. Some critics go so far as to say that “illegal drugs are cheaper, purer, and more available today” than ever before. This is a compelling argument and a powerful sound bite, to be sure. There’s just one problem: It’s not true.

So what do the data show? Simply put, our national drug problem is substantially smaller than it used to be, and progress continues to be made.”

Source: – February 12, 2013


  1. Alan Wartenberg MD says

    This blog is an attempt by those who continue to fight the holy War on Drugs to cherry-pick facts to defend an indefensible system. There has been, since we have collected statistics on it, an ebb and flow of drug use, particularly among youth, that follows its own patterns, and that administrations on both sides of the aisle have attempted to prove that their own particular policies of drug control are working. Prescription drug abuse continues to outpace changes in other drug use, and last year marked the 11th year in a row where opiate-involved deaths from overdose continued their rise.

    The issue is not whether drug criminalization has worked to reduce drug use (it hasn’t), but rather at what cost. While every other form of crime has gone down, drug arrests continue to rise, and we continue to fill our jails and prisons with non-violent drug offenders. This has three major impacts -1)it steals large amounts of money (some $60 k/year per prisoner) from other forms of potential spending, including drug treatment
    2) corrupts the criminal justice system from the bottom up, just as alcohol prohibition did 70 years ago and 3) creates a class of convicted drug users who are overwhelmingly worsened by their prison stay and are rendered unemployable by their criminal record.

    Alcohol prohibition actually worked in many ways – there was significant reduction in per capita drinking and in the development of alcoholic cirrhosis – but it was the cost of these benefits that society found unendurable. It is my fervent hope that the public will see through the sham arguments of the drug warriors and ultimately reject a far too costly criminal justice solution to what is, at heart, a public health problem.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>