Supply and Demand
A prime example of the drug war’s backward logic is its distortion of the basic economic principle of supply and demand. The federal government funnels vast resources into criminal justice and interdiction policies intended to reduce the supply of drugs, while neglecting treatment and education strategies that could help reduce drug demand.
This singular focus on supply reduction has failed to control organized crime syndicates and quell drug trade-related violence. The sky-high profits of the illegal drug trade ensure that each kingpin who falls will only be replaced with another, making supply-side interdiction a ceaseless battle. Education and treatment programs yield more permanent reductions in demand through prevention and healing.
Internationally, the hypocrisy of American drug policy is clear. Despite being the largest consumer of drugs in the world, the U.S. focuses hugely on supply reduction strategies in other countries while investing little in demand reduction strategies domestically.
We believe the federal government should stop wasting resources on failed supply-side interventions that sustain a violent underground drug trade and instead focus on effective treatment and education programs aimed at addressing the harms and causes of drug misuse.