Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Failure of Supply-Side Eradication: Global Drug Consumption and Production by the Numbers

By Gustavo de Greiff Restrepo.

Gustavo de Greiff is a lawyer, educator and activist who served as the first Attorney General of Colombia and former Colombian Ambassador to Mexico. He lost his position as Attorney General when he became an outspoken critic of the United States' War on Drugs in Colombia, and for being an advocate for drug liberalization policies. The following is excerpted and translated from his report, “The Balance of a Failed Strategy,” which originally appeared in the Colegio Mayor de Nuestra Senora del Rosario Magazine, Vol. 106, No. 603 in 2011. Follow the link to read the complete report (Spanish). A summary in English follows the tables.

Global drug consumption (in millions of users)
Drug
1997
2008
Cocaine
14
15-19.3
Heroin
8
11.3
Marijuana
141
190.7


Drug consumption by region (in millions of users)
Drug
             1997
U.S.                E.U
           2008
U.S.                E.U.
Cocaine
7
2
6.2
4.1
Heroin
2
1.1
5.8
4.1
Marijuana
22.2
18.7
29.25
22.5

”Consumed” refers to people between the ages of 5 and 65 that reported using the drug at least once in the reported year. Source: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, World Drug Report 2010.               

Global drug production (in metric tons)
Drug
1997
2008
Cocaine
863
865
Heroin
435
657
Marijuana
20,000-30,000
13,300-66,100 (2009)

Source: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2009

Global drug production prices (price per gram for purchases less than 2 grams)
Drug
          1997
U.S.                E.U.
           2009
U.S.                E.U.
Cocaine
$161.23
€113
$80.40
€44-88
Heroin
$528.72
€117
$364.01
€14-129
Marijuana
$8.21
€3-12
$10.91
€3-10

As far as price goes, there is no universal data but the information from the United States and European Union exemplify the failure of prohibitionist policy, which, I repeat, had the purpose of making drugs more expensive and thereby leading to a decrease in the number of consumers.  To examine the statistics one should keep in mind that during the studied period the potency of the three drugs included in the study increased  considerably, while their price decreased.  One would think that the increased potency of drugs would result in an increase in price and a decrease in the volume produced and consumed, but, as can be seen, this has  not occurred , except for the price of marijuana in North America because the illicit nature of the business makes it so that it does not always function within the logic of licit business.

…From the perspective of demand, [these figures] indicate that prohibitionist policy has failed in its intent to reduce consumption of psychoactive drugs, and, on the contrary, prohibition has given rise to unexpected consequences: organized crime, corruption between governmental agents who, in one form or another, close their eyes to permit the traffic of prohibited substances, rural and urban violence, the violation of the sovereignty of the countries where narcotics are produced; also, the destruction of families, lives lost in prison, degraded cities, etc.

…Evident as it is that the prohibitionist strategy has failed, one should ask, “Why is it that the strategy of legalization, or rather, the strategy of regulation as has been outlined, not been implemented by any Latin American country?” It seems to me that in the first place, it is due to a lack of civic courage on the part of governments. None have dared even propose it for fear of incurring the bad favor of the United States government; disfavor that tends to be coupled with punitive measures, such as commercial restrictions, the closing of financing sources, outright or concealed intervention in internal matters, the revoking of visas and many other inventions that the powerful find easily at hand.  Secondly, because this lack of civic valor has been reinforced by generalized fear in public opinion and exploited by politicians terrified of being accused of being “soft” on crime—which, the thinking goes, would increase in a regulated [legalized] environment along with consumption.* In the third, no less important place, there is the resolve of bureaucrats whose very jobs depend on continuing the War on Drugs.

*Science and experience show is that this is not true.  Politicians who advocate for prohibition and the governments they serve tend to argue that the existence of trade agreements and international conventions that oblige nations to combat psychoactive drugs through the criminalization of production, trade and consumption, conveniently forgetting that these conventions and trade agreements can be denounced and modified.

El fracaso de la erradicación por lado de la oferta: El consumo y la producción mundial de drogas en cifras

Por Gustavo de Greiff Restrepo. 

Gustavo de Greiff es abogado, educador y activista, el primer Fiscal General de Colombia y embajador de Colombia a México. Perdió su puesto como Fiscal General por criticar públicamente la política antinarcótica estadounidense en Colombia, y por abogar por la legalización y la regulación de las drogas. Las siguientes cifras vienen de su informe, “El Balance de una Estratégia Fallida,” lo cual fue publicado originalmente en la revista del Colegio Mayor de Nuestra Señora del Rosario, Vol. 106, No. 603 en 2011. Sigue el enlace para leer el informe completo y el análisis del significado de las cifras.

Consumo mundial de drogas (millones de consumidores)
Droga
1997
2008
Cocaína
14
15-19.3
Heroína
8
11.3
Marihuana
141
190.7


Consumo de drogas por región (millones de consumidores)
Droga
              1997
EE.UU                E.U
             
              2008
EE.UU                E.U.

Cocaína
7
2
6.2
4.1
Heroína
2
1.1
5.8
4.1
Marihuana
22.2
18.7
29.25
22.5

"Consumo” se refiere a personas entre 5 y 65 años de edad quienes reportaron haber consumido de la droga al menos una vez dentro del año reportado. Fuente: La Oficina de las Naciones Unidas contra la Droga y el Delito (UNODC), Informe mundial en estupificantes, 2010.


Producción mundial de drogas (en toneladas métricas)
Droga
1997
2008
Cocaína
863
865
Heroína
435
657
Marihuana
20.000-30.000
13.300-66.100 (2009)

Fuente: La Oficina de las Naciones Unidas contra la Droga y el Delito (UNODC), 2009


Precio mundial de drogas (precio al gramo para compras de menos de 2 gramos)
Drug
             1997
EE.UU           E.U
             2009
EE.UU                E.U
Cocaína
$161.23
€113
$80.40
€44-88
Heroína
$528.72
€117
$364.01
€14-129
Marihuana
$8.21
€3-12
$10.91
€3-10


No comments:

Post a Comment

Post a Comment