Wasted Tax Dollars

Over the past four decades, federal and state governments have poured over $1 trillion into drug war spending and relied on taxpayers to foot the bill. Unfortunately, these tax dollars have gone to waste. In 1980, the United States had 50,000 people behind bars for drug law violations – now we have more than half a million. The U.S. is now the world’s largest jailer, drugs remain widely available and treatment resources are scarce. Not only have billions of tax dollars been wasted, but drug war spending has also resulted in the defunding of other important services. Money funneled into drug enforcement has meant less funding for more serious crime and has left essential education, health, social service and public safety programs struggling to operate on meager funding. The Drug Policy Alliance is working to shift funding away from the same old failed policies and toward effective drug treatment and education programs. We are leading the movement to end prohibition’s drain on our economy and to protect your tax dollars from wasteful drug war spending.

Learn more about our priorities for fiscal responsibility.

A Social Work Perspective on Drug Policy Reform

This report commissioned by the National Association of Social Workers calls for a public health approach to drug use and outlines the role social workers can play in shifting the current paradigm.

11th Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds Fourth Amendment Challenge to Florida's Suspicionless Drug Testing Program

Drug Policy Alliance filed Amicus Brief Challenging Random Drug Testing Program

Today, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Lebron v. Secretary, Florida Department of Children and Families, upheld a preliminary injunction that halted Florida’s law requiring drug testing of public assistance applicants as a condition of receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (“TANF”).

Contact: Theshia Naidoo 510-229-5214 or Tommy McDonald 510-229-5215

The Federal Drug Control Budget

February 4, 2015

The Obama administration says that drug use should be treated as a health issue instead of a criminal justice issue. Yet both his budget and his drug policies continue to emphasize enforcement, prosecution and incarceration at home, and interdiction, eradication and military escalation abroad. Even what the government does spend on treatment and prevention is overstated, as many of its programs are wasteful and counterproductive.

Despite fear, Mexican victims of drug war on Caravan for Peace to visit El Paso-Juarez border to deliver clear message: End the war on drugs

Families, including exiled residents of Juarez—epicenter of drug war violence –and relatives of the more than 60,000 killed in drug war, go to Drug Enforcement Administration to demand alternatives to costly, catastrophic failure of drug prohibition, military aid, and the open gun market.

El Paso, Texas –On Tuesday, August 21st, members of the Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity will gather in front of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) division office in El Paso to demand accountability from the principal US government agency charged with prosecuting the drug war in both Mexico and the United States, and to seek a dialogue about the costs of this war—and how to bring it to an end.

Contact: Daniel Robelo, Drug Policy Alliance: 650-465-2584
Richard Newton, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition: (915) 588-5054

Ethan Nadelmann on CNN: Drug War Debate

Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, debates the war on drugs with Kevin Sabet, former senior advisor to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), on CNN.

New York Marijuana Arrests Campaign Videos

Watch these powerful video testimonials to learn about how the NYPD’s illegal marijuana arrest policy has impacted some of the over 50,000 people every year that are falsely charged and arrested for marijuana possession, and how you can help put an end to these egregious police practices.

California Law Enforcement and Medical Marijuana

August 1, 2011

Law enforcement attitudes towards medical marijuana in California have been mixed. Generally, many law enforcement officials and associations have been hostile to medical marijuana, since California’s voters legalized it in 1996 and continuing today.

Mandatory Drug Testing for Unemployment Benefits and TANF is Costly and Ineffective

Substance abuse affects families of all income levels and will not be ameliorated by simple drug testing and retaliatory restriction of benefits.

Background on New York's Draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws

Enacted in 1973 under then-Governor Nelson Rockefeller, the Rockefeller Drug Laws mandated extremely harsh prison terms for possession or sale of relatively small amounts of drugs. Although intended to target “kingpins,” most people incarcerated under the laws were convicted of low-level, nonviolent, first-time offenses. The laws marked an unprecedented shift towards addressing drug use and abuse through the criminal justice system instead of through the medical and public health systems.

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