Since 2002, spending on cocaine and marijuana has flipped. Researchers note that cocaine consumption has dropped by about half, while marijuana consumption has increased by around 40%. Heroin consumption has remained stable throughout the decade, with a small increase detected in the later years. Methamphetamine consumption, the authors note, has been harder to track, as "national datasets do not do a good job of capturing its use." Across the board, heavy users are the main drivers of spending and consumption, and are defined as folks who use at least 21 days/month.
The authors culled data from a variety of sources, including the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Program, various law enforcement and seizure databases, and more. Despite the apparent rigor involved in the creation of these estimates, the authors caution about the inherent uncertainty in this type of data analysis - especially considering that the bulk of the data came from self-report surveys.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that despite the increasing public investments in the so-called War on Drugs, demand-side consumption and expenditures are constant or rising throughout the country. Could this be one reason the Attorney General has agreed to endorse changes to Federal drug sentencing? What do readers think about the current state of availability and expense?
You can read the full report here: