In this essay I will define drug abuse and show the economic impact of the sales of illicit drugs. I will introduce an argument for legalization and the impact to the economy. Next I will discuss some of the economic cost from lack of productivity, health care cost and other cost associated with Drug abuse.
In order to understand the economic impact of illicit drugs we must first define what a drug is. A drug is defined as any substance other than food that affects the way your mind or body works. Abuse is defined as the wrong use or misuse of something. So drug abuse would be defined as the wrong use of drugs. As a D.A.R.E. officer, this definition has been ingrained into my mind for the past eighteen years.
During my twenty years of Law Enforcement I have learned how dangerous drugs are to the economy. They damage your body and drug abuse also has a huge economic impact on the country.
In the United States there are two types of drugs legal and illegal. The legal drugs have two subcategories, prescription and over the counter. Prescription drugs are placed into different categories called schedules. The ones that have a highest chance for abuse or addiction have a higher place in the schedule. Schedule I drugs are the drugs that have no safe or accepted medical use in the United States. Examples are heroin, marijuana, LSD, PCP, and crack cocaine. As you go down the schedule the drugs become less addictive and have a small potential for abuse, but are still controlled by the Drug Enforcement Agency. Schedule V are the lowest controlled drugs. Examples are codeine, valium and xanax Non prescription drugs are those that are sold over the counter and you do not need a prescription to purchase.
The illegal or illicit drugs are those that are shown not to have any medicinal purpose. These drugs are the ones that have the highest potential for abuse. They are placed in five categories narcotics, stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens and cannabis.
When we talk about illicit narcotics, it usually is one of the scheduled drugs. Just because you label a drug as legal, does not lessen its potential for abuse. Prescription drugs are also abused therefore highly desirable on the black market.
The single largest marketplace for illegal drugs is the United States. Although the market has decreased, close to thirteen million Americans still think nothing about occasionally buying a gram of cocaine, a few hits of ecstasy or a quarter ounce of weed to party with their friends on the weekends. A hard core group that is estimated to be between 5 and 6 million has more serious drug habits, and spend $100-$500 dollars a week on purchasing their drugs. These two groups’ hard core users and casual users are spending approximately $60 billion dollars a year on their drug of choice (The Economic cost, 2001).
From a purely economic point of view it's good for our country, but you create a system that is outside of the normal parameters...