The Limits of Supply-Side Drug Control

Peter Reuter

American drug policy has been frozen in place since crack cocaine hit the cities in the mid-1980s. Those policies are punitive, divisive, intrusive and expensive. Yet the nation has a drug problem more severe than that of any other rich Western society, whether measured in terms of the extent of drug use, drug-related AIDS cases, or the level of violence and corruption associated with these drugs. Roughly speaking, those other Western nations troubled by drugs (like Australia or Italy) have a per capita heroin problem about the same size as the United States, and a problem with cocaine or amphetamines that is vastly smaller than ours.

The Milken Institute Review. Santa Monica, CA. First Quarter 2001: 14-23.
Supply and Demand